At a young age of 30, with a Doctorate of Philosophy (International Law, majoring in International Relations), Ssemanda Allawi has already placed himself among a miniature percentage of Ugandans perusing academic excellence so early in their lives.
The young activist from Mbarara in western Uganda quickly soured through school ranks, serving at one point as the Guild president Mbarara University of science and Technology (MUST) in 2011.
It was then that he kicked off a crusade against corruption which he described as Uganda’s biggest challenge.
He consequently founded Volunteers Anti Corruption Campaign Africa (VACOCA) at MUST, a student/youth led campaign to fight corruption.
Ssemanda says his philosophy was that to defeat corruption, people must be willing and volunteering other than fighting it as a job.
“Some people may not be wholeheartedly fighting since they are earning from that job of fighting corruption,” he says.
VACOCA has since provided a platform for learners to take a stand and campaign against the corruption.
A number of speakers including lawyers, politicians, civil servants and army officers have also used the platform to interact with the students.
The campaign he says has also expanded to other Ugandan universities such as Ndejje and Bishop Stuart University.
Ssemanda says he has also managed to create friendship with high ranking Ugandan officials such as former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, Minister of justice & Constitutional affairs professor Ephraim Kamuntu, Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, security minister general Elly Tumwiine among others.
He has also practiced Journalism for more than 10 years and written several Opinion pieces in local dailies with focus on Social and Political issues.
As a student, Ssemanda Allawi has published several scholarly works focusing on Peace Journalism, Solution Journalism and Foreign Policy.
He is also the founder of a Think Tank, Development Watch Centre which focuses on Diplomacy and Foreign Policy.
Recently he has been among the Ugandans actively campaigning for the return of Ugandans that have been stranded in foreign countries following the ban on air travel as a result of Covid19.
Ssemanda petitioned President Yoweri Museveni to order ministry of Foreign Affairs to expeditiously evacuate these Ugandans.
He says there are thousands of Ugandans stranded abroad who are suffering after losing jobs as a result of economic meltdown caused by Covid-19, and also shared a letter of a Ugandan whose contract was terminated in UAE and the company advised him to leave the country.
On 2nd June 2020 Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa, presented a statement to parliament on situation of Ugandans stranded abroad as a result of Covid-19 and closure of airport.
Kutesa noted that there were over 2400 Ugandans stranded abroad. Though he promised government is planning to allow them return, Ssemanda argues that there is no timeframe when this will be done yet many of Ugandans abroad have already spent their savings paying rent and other bills while other cannot even manage such bills and are living on mercy of donations or begging for support from their families back home.
Ssemanda argues that government should quickly help these Ugandans to return home quickly to save them the suffering many are going through.
He argues that while the challenge of Covid-19 is real, government should not abandon its responsibility of protecting Ugandans, as a matter of urgency, government should plan for their evacuation. These people are willing to be quarantined for two weeks before joining their families and communities.