By Gloria Katya and Ivan Tsebeni
Mecca Akello is the new president of Uganda Christian University’s (UCU) Honors College, which is a leadership training program that mentors and trains students with life skills, preparing them for survival in the competitive world.
Akello, a student of Bachelor of Arts with Education, beat two other contenders in the elections that were held virtually on September 23. Akello garnered 29 votes, beating her closest challenger, Samantha Atuhaire, who polled 25 votes.
“It was a tough race, but I’m glad I won,” Akello said, attributing her success to God.
Born in the northern Uganda district of Kole to Benson Ongom and Grace Asio, Akello is the last of four siblings. She is no stranger to leadership. As early as secondary school, she was a students’ leader at Kole Secondary School.
In 2018, when Akello joined UCU, she was elected a class representative. She says that position paved the way for her to later join the university’s students’ guild government in 2020.
She believes that her most recent position as Minister of Education in the guild government will help her perform even better at her new role at the apex of leadership at the Honors College, which focuses on Christian mentorship, leadership and academic research.
In her early days as president for UCU’s group of honors students, Akello wants to put in place a student-to-student program to help guide and mentor new students.
“This will reduce the number of students who drop out of the college since the mentors will have been through the same struggles,” said Akello, who joined the Honors College in 2019 in her second year at UCU. She also pledges to address the issue of tuition which she said is the biggest reason for student dropout.
“When I joined the college, I did not really know much, I was scared, I joined it with the intention of keeping the good academic grades,” she says, adding that the college has offered her more than she expected.
To join the Honors College, applicants must have at least a 4.0 Cumulative Grade-Point Average (CGPA) out of 5.0. The college offers talented students the opportunity to tap on their mettle through an extra certificate-program, alongside the regular bachelor’s degree course.
The college, which is the brainchild of Prof. Stephen Noll, UCU’s first Vice Chancellor, offers a multidisciplinary approach to scientific and social issues, which helps to enrich students’ projects and research.
Pamela Tumwebaze, the head of the Honors College, says that Akello is one of the students who recently had a wonderful research project.