Conversation on Leadership, Diversity, and Pan-Africanism: Insights from Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda.

The Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda and Awel Uwihanganye, Founder & Senior Director, LéO Africa Institute.

As the Seminar Weekend drew to a close for the Huduma Class of 2024, a profound sense of inspiration and reflection lingered in the room. 

The closing session, led by the esteemed Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister Emeritus of Uganda, served as a fitting conclusion to a weekend filled with inspiration, intense debate and deliberation among Fellows. Addressing the gathered Huduma Fellows, Rt. Hon. Rugunda offered insightful remarks that resonated deeply with the audience, drawing from his own wealth of experience as a leader and statesman.

In his address, Rt. Hon. Rugunda commended the LéO Africa Institute for its invaluable contribution to leadership development among Uganda’s youth. He expressed gratitude for the Institute’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of leaders, describing its offerings as a “substantive package” that equips young minds with the tools and knowledge necessary to drive positive change in their communities and beyond. This recognition underscored the importance of investing in the potential of Uganda’s brilliant youth and empowering them to become catalysts for progress.

Rt. Hon. Rugunda noted the diversity among the fellows, both in terms of professions and personalities. He applauded this diversity as a strength, emphasizing the importance of embracing different perspectives and experiences in the pursuit of collective goals. Drawing from his own journey as a young leader, Rt. Hon. Rugunda recollected his time as the Chairman of the National Union of Students of Uganda (NUSU), now called Uganda National Students’ Association (UNSA) a position previously held by a fellow in the current cohort, Matanda Abubaker. This personal anecdote served as a reminder of the interconnectedness of past and present, and the enduring impact of leadership on shaping Uganda’s future.

“There is no particular age upon which one becomes a leader but any slight discomfort should signal the need to lead and take action ” He added.

The Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of Uganda 2014-2021, interacts with Andrew Mbigiti, one of the Huduma Fellows.

In his address, Rt. Hon. Rugunda underscored the importance of political awareness among the fellows, urging them to be informed and engaged citizens. While acknowledging the significance of political activism, he emphasized the value of political awareness in enabling individuals to make informed decisions and contribute meaningfully to society. He cautioned against turning a blind eye to Uganda’s history, stressing its relevance in shaping its leadership development trajectory. 

Recounting key moments in the Pan-African movement, Rt. Hon. Rugunda highlighted the independence of Ghana in 1957 as a pivotal moment that sparked the movement across the continent. He also briefly touched upon the contributions of figures such as Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Du Bois, whose ideas continue to resonate in the quest for African unity and empowerment.

The closing session of the Huduma Seminar Weekend provided a moment of reflection and inspiration for the Class of 2024. Rt. Hon. Rugunda’s remarks served as a guiding light, reminding the fellows of the importance of leadership, diversity, and political awareness in driving positive change, deepening their consciousness of peoples’ realities, history and problems of Uganda as they embark on their respective journeys, the lessons learned during the seminar weekend will undoubtedly serve as a foundation for their future endeavours, empowering them to become effective leaders and agents of transformation in Uganda and beyond. He ended the session with a rather general and personal description of himself as a reader, environmentalist and conversationist.

The Huduma Class of 2024 pose for a group photo with Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of Uganda, 2014-2021.