I Have Spent 37 Years as a Guard at Makerere

1680 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
In 1979, Warren Tumushabe left his village for the long trip to Kampala after being invited by his relatives who were working as cooks at Makerere University. He was soon hired by the university to do slashing and other casual cleaning work. This started his love affair with Makerere that, 37 years later, Tumushabe is still working as a guard at Livingstone Hall.

By the age of 22 in 1979, Warren Tumushabe had long abandoned school in Kabale district and done some manual jobs in his home village of Kyonyo cell, Kanyanjoka in Kamuganguzi.

That same year, Tumushabe left his village for the long trip to Kampala after being invited by his relatives who were working as cooks at Makerere University. He was soon hired by the university to do slashing and other casual cleaning work.
  
This started his love affair with Makerere that, 37 years later, Tumushabe is still serving Uganda's oldest university as a guard at Livingstone Hall.
  
Born on February 2, 1957, Tumushabe dropped out of school in primary six.
  
"I came in 1979 to look for jobs after finishing my P.6. When I arrived at Makerere, I was welcomed by my uncles who worked as cooks and waiters in Livingstone Hall. I started slashing in Africa Hall in 1979 earning 240 shillings a month."
  
Tumushabe's hard work and commitment to his job earned him friendship among the university officials which friendship was to later translate into his promotion as a hall guard in 1983.
  
He says that after gaining experience in slashing, and since at that time Makerere had few workers, the Warden of Africa Hall then, Ms. Buga, gave him a promotion that changed his fortunes.
  
Tumshabe, a father of seven says that other people never wanted to work because the pay was really low. This, he says, gave him a chance to shine and to be spotted by the Warden.
  
"The warden approached me and said that since I was a good young man, she wanted me to do two jobs. Whenever I would finish slashing, I would rest and prepare myself to go for night duty as a guard," he says.
  
He would get paid over-time for night duty, something that improved his monthly earning.
  
Tumushabe would go on to receive security training from within the university under the watchful eye of the chief security officer.
  
Training and promotion came with an increase in salary: "I started earning 1,500 shillings and that money has been increasing over the years to today where I earn 300,000 shillings per month."
  
 In 1999, Tumushabe was given a transfer to join Dag Hammarskjold, a post graduate hall where he spent three years. He says he started a new life at the hall as many people loved him.
  
"My life at Dag was very good, the warden then, Dr. Mulumu, liked me because I was very active."
  
He was later shifted to Galloway hostel, a residence for 4th and 5th year medical students in Mulago at the School of Public Health. He says, however, that many guards who would be transferred to the post graduate hall would escape simply because they did not want to stay near the Chief Security Officer. This prompted the warden to ask the chief security officer to recall Tumushabe since they already appreciated his services.
  
"Whenever they would transfer guards, they would fear there because the chief security officer who was doing his master's degree then resided there."
  
On July 1, 2004, Tumushabe moved to Galloway Hall where he worked for a year before moving to Livingstone Hall in December 2010. It is at Livingstone that students gave him the title of 'Kamanda' or Commander because of his work.
  
Just like his experience in other halls, Tumushabe says that his life in Livingstone has been exceptional and has enjoyed the discipline and hospitality of people there.
  
"When I reached Livingstone, it seemed like another home, I could no longer think about Dag Hammarskjold. I found the staff there very cooperative and students were lovely," he says.
 
Tumushabe reports to work at 5:00pm, makes a tour of the hall, and supervises hall property to ensure everything is in proper order. At night, he makes patrols when students are sleeping to ensure there's safety in the hall premises.
  
In April this year, student residents of Livingstone Hall recognised him for his dedicated services as a hall guard since 2010. He proudly carries the plaque that he received.
  
Tumushabe is married to Medius Tukamubona and he boasts that his job has enabled him to educate their seven children. He also bought land where he says he can have a safe landing back at home.
 
"I have done a lot of things with this job. First of all I have educated my children, two of them have graduated, and others still studying. I bought land where I set up a farm."
  
At 59, Tumushabe has to think about retirement. But for now, it is still time for work.
  
"I pray that I complete my work here at Makerere well because many people have had problems along the way. I want to leave a good record."
  
He says he wants to retire when he clocks 60 years next year: "I plan to go back to my village and assist my wife in doing work."
  
But Tumushabe's major worry is failure by the university to pay him his arrears and terminal benefits since many people have retired and are not given their money.
  
"Makerere has changed. Whenever one would retire they would be given his retirement package. If the university gives me all the money it owes me, I would be so happy. The only chance I have is that I occupy a university house, which I cannot vacate minus payment."