By Markson Omagor
Stephen Galogotho Renny is a household name among Makerere University graduates of the 1990’s and 2000’s because in his 4th year in Medical School, he was expelled for leading a strike in defence of students’ rights.
And he was expelled not as an ordinary student, but a Guild President of the famous Ivory Tower. However, since then, Githo as we fondly called him has led a life of a bitter man unable to live his childhood dream of serving his community as a Medical Doctor.
Just to find out what is happening in this Student Leader’s life, this website arranged for a scientific interview with him that took place today 9th April 2021. The eastnews team based in Mbale interviewed Githo who is currently in Tororo on phone.
Below are the interview excerpts verbatim:
eastnews.co.ug: You have been out of school for nearly three decades and now I hear you have gone back to study. What has inspired you to go back to school?
Githo: There’s always hope for a cut tree to sprout, why not a human being?
I have been in school outside school. The school of life. School isn’t restricted to the conventional classroom or lecture theatre setting. I have learnt much outside the walls and gates of formal school. A flowering plant is beautiful and even more beautiful when trimmed. Persistence is key, we should never give up unless forced to. The lesson gleaned from the snail is that out of stubborn patience, it managed to reach Noah’s Ark in the Biblical story.
eastnews.co.ug: Which University have you joined and for which course. What do you intend to do after graduation?
Githo: I have through the support and encouragement of countless Comrades joined Drake University because it’s a destination which ignites passion, enables dreams and transforms lives.
I am pursuing a course in Public Management and Leadership. I am the first International Student for the program which I believe will be advantageous for Uganda in the long run.
I will definitely utilize my academic achievements and any competencies that I will acquire to better my wellbeing and that of society as I have always desired. When the tides rise every boat is lifted off the bottom to a higher pedestal. Going back to school rekindles my shattered dreams of contributing towards creating a better society.
What I intend to do after? I believe when the broken pieces of life have been fixed, I will be able to join the Value Improved Personnel – Club ie the VIP-CLUB.
eastnews.co.ug: Why didn’t you pursue your original dream of human medicine?
Githo: The excitement about Medicine waxed and waned. Knowing the study of Medicine for what it is, after more than 25years moving from academic oblivion into a Medical Class is like jumping headlong from a pond of ice, directly into the frying pan on fire!
I have evolved a lot during the period I have been out of action. It’s both a resurrection and a rebirth. A resurrection from the grave yards of Social Injustice and a rebirth in the sense that you are dealing with a brand new person washed in the liberating power of love of the people.
I am not a flat character but an all-round one. I have a firm belief with a glowing optimism that just as I was to be a formidable and resourceful Doctor, so will I be in my new found calling and role.
Majority of those I trained with are now retirees others are out of conventional clinical practice. I need contemporaries hence the course I am pursuing which transcends all disciplines.
eastnews.co.ug: What do you say about the way government handled your case after expulsion?
Githo: How Government handled my case after expulsion? I will attempt to look at it from a dichotomous point of view. From my calibrated perspective, Government summarily expelled me and that was their mandate to bury the voice of the poor.
I have since understood that I and countless other student leaders from across all of Africa are victims and collaterals of the anti-poor policies that emerged in the aftermath of World War II. These policies are roughly described as Neo-liberalism and deregulation. They developed as Ideas in the 1940s in the US during the Administration of President Herbert Hoover, they were nurtured by the Margaret Thatcher Administration in UK in the 80s and early 90s, then wantonly and recklessly promoted by our Brothers, the leaders on the African Continent.
I and many other student leaders across Africa were mere pawns on the checkerboard of unprincipled African leadership. We were just unsuspecting victims of the vicissitudes of student activism occasioned by a pandemic of putrified Structural Adjustment Policies and the politics that go with it. Viewed from that vantage, one could understand the position of African Governments of turning their backs against the people they ought to serve.
My predicament is a punishment served for standing with and for the poor people of this Country. Quite often when one fights for the rights of poor people, one is forced to wear a crown of “thorns” and inconvenience. Today a painful miasma of despair hangs over my life as I struggle to pick up the pieces. Maybe there are things we would have done differently and had Government handled my concerns maybe we wouldn’t be in this discussion.
I am eternally grateful to all friends and Comrades who have come to my life to help me gain a foothold in the quicksands of time. It’s work in progress. Not many do it, and not many of my fellow victims have been this lucky.
eastnews.co.ug: Would you accept government to sponsor your new course?
Githo: I am Ugandan and you seem to be asking me about citizenship. Who is this creature called Government and who is Galogitho?
Because of the many reasons underscored above, people tend to think that Government Sponsorship is a favour and privilege! Far from it! It’s the duty of every Government worth the salt to sponsor its able bodied citizens irrespective of their stations in life. People need education, people need health, people need wealth and people need loving more especially from those who are at the helm of things. This is because the world is round and round.
Governments help themselves more by educating the masses. When these ostensibly self-evident truths descend upon the heads of our leaders (you call them Government), Africa will transform overnight.
eastnews.co.ug: Tell us about your family, do you one, I mean are you married, do you have children?
Githo: Yes I have a biological family and children who are a source of Inspiration to me. I lost my Dad from otherwise treatable ailment three years ago. My 88 year old Mother is frail but still pulling the empty wagons of life.
I would like us to always appreciate the fact that I am still afloat largely due to my greater and true family of genuine Comradeship. I am the receipient of countless acts of compassion from loving friends, Comrades, OBs, OGs and many well-wishers from all walks of life. I am grateful to God for these generous hearts that surround me, giving me hope and a reason to live another day to fight yet another existential battle.
I thank you and your team for reaching out to me to get a part of my story. God bless you all.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY EDITOR
Githo who has joined Drake University is yet to raise the fees needed neither has he got a sponsor. He also needs personal effects to put right his life including a decent living quarters for his young and lovely biological family.
Therefore anybody wishing to contribute towards the rebuilding of this short ‘Ivory Tower’ can reach him on the following numbers;
WhatsApp and MTN: 0783010867