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Monday, December 7, 2009

My education is my most expensive possession

At only 29, Bruce Balaba is a member of the Makerere University Council and is also the Chairman University Convocation, an association of all Makerere University alumni and staff. He told Dennis D. Muhumuza that his greatest fear is poverty 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Participating in the organisation of the first ever Makerere University alumni re-union, and managing to convince former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa to preside, was a very big achievement.

What is your most expensive possession?
I am unable to quantify my education but I find it the most expensive. And if I’m to be material, maybe my house in Luzira; it could be worth Shs300m.

What’s your most unappealing habit?
Sometimes I’m too emphatic and brutally frank.

What is it like for a young man like you leading the university alumni and sitting on the university council?
Leading the alumni is very interesting though challenging. But sitting on the university council is awakening. I think as one grows he becomes more careful and becomes too slow to move. I’m made to wish that many more young people come up to lead and guide these institutions.

Why has it taken this long to organise the first grand alumni reunion?
I think the university has in the past had many priorities but also the leaders were not yet appreciative of the alumni potential to support higher education.

What was the best kiss of your life?
A kiss? No. That’s a little private. But when I made my first entry into the National Youth Council 11years ago, it was a nice kiss of my life.

When did you last cry and why?
Some time when the university land in Kololo was up for sale by university management and the council seemed to take long to appreciate the ill motives, I cried. And the land survived.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I don’t really take interest in looks but I have been told in the past that I’m okay.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Incidentally, my dream dinner is not personal; I wish to see all those graduates of Makerere in that Freedom Square on November 28, (when the reunion takes place), testing their memorable cultures.

Which living person do you most despise and why?
I’m not into despising people, but of course I have no respect for those who undermine the rights of man.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
If we go into relationships, it’s obviously my girlfriend, but you know love is only possible when you’re secure. In fact my greatest love is for those who attempt to create insurance for our future.

What’s the closest you have come death?
Early in 2006 on my way to North Africa, I encountered the Harmattan winds in the skies of Cairo. It was a frightening flight.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
In my S.1 at Kigezi High School, I thought I was the best debater in school. I tried it on stage and got embarrassed.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
A statesman; in fact Benjamin Mkapa. One who struggles to lead, acquires power, sustains the power, hands it over and remains useful to society.

What is your greatest fear?
Poverty. And because of the state of poverty in which our people live, I see a spontaneous uprising of our people triggered by the escalating poverty levels especially if our leaders remain silent. And all our efforts will be carelessly washed away.

To whom would you most like to say sorry and why?
Those I thought I loved. Because it didn’t work out.

--Sunday Monitor, November 22, 2009