On Wednesday, February 10, we marked the official opening of our new academic block in Gaba Campus, Eldoret with Eucharistic celebration during which the building was also blessed.
Present for the occasion was the chairman of the University Council and bishop of Nakuru Rt. Rev. Maurice Muhatia, the Ordinary of Eldoret Diocese where Gaba campus is situated Rt. Rev. Dominic Kimengich and the bishop of Kitale, Rt. Rev. Maurice Crowley who is also a University Council member, AMECEA Secretary General Rev. Dr. Anthony Makunde and Eldoret County government dignitaries, staff, students and the alumni of CUEA’s Gaba Campus, among others.
Addressing the congregations as Vice Chancellor of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa Prof. Steven Mbugua told the congregation that “the block which the students nicknamed Fort Jesus because the project had stalled for a long time is now ready. I now challenge you the students to do your part. Work hard in order to stand out not only in academic performance but also in your behavior including the dress code.”
And as chairman of the University Council, on behalf of all AMECEA bishops, Rt. Rev. Muhatia thanked the CUEA leadership and staff for their resilience during these difficult times as worsened by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to thank you all for your resilience that even during these most difficult times of CUEA, you did not choose to quit but rather stayed so that together we may find solutions to our problems. In fact, as University Council we are happy that before the end of our term in 2022, we shall have fulfilled the recovery program as mandated by the AMECEA bishops at the plenary in Addis Ababa in 2018,” he said.
On the fact that the project had stalled for a long time due to lack of finances, Bishop Muhatia addressed the students saying, “Today, this building is no longer Fort Jesus as it now has a new face.”
Earlier on during his homily, the Chairman of the University Council thanked God for the gift of the building and for sanctifying human work and challenged the staff and students at the campus during his homily, to make their work a way of continuing God’s work of creating the world.
“This can only happen if when academic ethics as taught in the lecture halls is translated into human ethics, hence sanctifying the day to day works of the person,” said Bishop Muhatia.
On his part, the Director of CUEA Gaba Campus Rev. Professor Nicholas Segeja informed the people that gathered that the bishops of AMECEA region took the decision to open the campus in July 2008 during their plenary meeting which took place in Zambia and in August 2009 the decision was implemented.
“Almost ten years down the line we are here to witness the blessing of this fusion block which has new lecture rooms. This marks an important step towards realizing the AMECEA – CUEA vision and our dream to grow,” he said adding, “the new structure has access friendly to people with disability, spacious rooms that allow social distancing students as required by the Ministry of Health amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, and it is designed to facilitate more interaction between the staff and students.”
Currently, CUEA Gaba Campus which currently has 504 students in different programs (Masters and Bachelors) distributed in 3 faculties (Education, Arts and Social Sciences and Economics) apart from the AMECEA Pastoral Institute (API) which offers sabbatical diploma programs to pastoral agents such as Catechesis and Evangelization, Pastoral Ministry and Management, and other non-academic renewal programs. With the new tuition block becoming functional the intake of the campus is expected double as the facility has a capacity of over 2,000 students.
In his remarks on the occasion, Bishop Maurice Crowley also agreed that with this development, Gaba Campus of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa has a bright future, thanks to the resilience of the University Council, the staff and the students. However, to both the students and the staff, he insisted on making a difference, arguing that this is possible simply by showing the others that we belong to a different religion or denomination but by being their good neighbours.
“To both the staff and students, the university education in the country is going through a crisis but what is locking most is integrity. We need to teach by example. Mean what you say; and say what you mean,” insisted and continued, “That there is change in CUEA, I am proud of that but give the Catholic University a good name. I want the Catholic University to be better than these other non-Catholic universities.
The new tuition block at AMECEA Gaba campus, Eldoret, has been realized with funds raised on AMECEA Gaba Golden jubilee celebration which took place on October 26, 2019, local contributions of CUEA, thanks to the arrangement made by the leadership with the contractor, and donations by other well-wishers.