By Eriah Lule
If it’s your first time watching or listening to Tabalanga Jonathan on a political and current affairs show, one would easily reflect and tag him as the Ugandan Larry King due to the style in which he articulates and disseminates information to his audiences.
The 40-year-old is an international relations expert lecturing at Uganda Christian University (UCU) in the School of Social Sciences and has given hints to the Ugandan media industry with his analytics. He investigates all aspects of current affairs, with a focus on politics.
Elections, conflict, political unrest, and economic stagnation in a country like Uganda have pushed many media houses in the country to hold dialogues where people like Tabalanga have helped to educate the nation on current affairs.
The father of two has done political commentary all over Uganda’s giant media houses like NTV, NBS, and Spark TV on various current affairs and political issues, more so during the recent 2021 National Election.
By him being called on such shows, Tabalanga believes he is showing the relevance of UCU to the community but is also using these same platforms to market it. Sometimes I am introduced as a teacher from UCU. This gives credibility to me as a person but also to the institution.
As a scholar, Tabalanga has authored and co-authored a number of articles that have, over time, advocated for human rights and peace.
In 2016, he published a number of papers in the African region, including Civil Policy Relations and The Uncertainty of South Sudan.He has also written and tried to review policies at the international level; he authored “The Refugee Crisis in Europe,” among others.
According to Tabalanga, the Faculty of Social Sciences being elevated to a school now is a bigger step and a challenge to all academia in the school to start embarking on research to increase the university’s ranking.
I am just imagining if each member of staff published three research papers or a book annually, where would our university be in the rankings? He said. “A research-based school, I believe, is the one that we are fighting to establish.”
“With such exposure and practical experience, he impacts us with rich information as he is teaching,” said Askada Julian, a second-year student pursing a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Governance.
“With such lecturers, it is no wonder that we were elevated from a faculty to a school,” she added.
Before joining UCU, he worked with MTN-Uganda (Telecommunication Company) as a customer care adviser in 2007–2008. He later joined the Embassy of Twin Dad and Tobago as a political and research assistant in 2009–2016. He joined Victoria University as a lecturer and Uganda Post Limited as their International Relations Officer from 2017 to date.
Apart from political commentary, the servant hood in Tabalanga doesn’t let him go. He currently does sports analytics on Power FM (remarkable radio in the country), a strategy he believes best works for him to learn new things.
Tebalanga grew up in a peasant family, but despite being the seventh of eleven children, this did not prevent him from becoming someone. “I grew up in a house where there were 20 children, including my relatives,” he said.
According to Tabalanga, their only challenge as a family was the lack of sufficient resources that would be enough for everyone, but due to the collective support of his family members, he managed to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences with a bias in International Relations in 2008 at Makerere University.
He enrolled for his Masters in International Relations and Diplomatic Studies in 2009 and graduated in 2012 from Makerere University. In 2018, he joined UCU as a part-time lecturer in the Social Sciences faculty. “I have had four graduating classes since I joined UCU,” he said.
He attended Kivubuka Primary School, Old Kampala Secondary School, and Kiira College Butiki.