Clad in an orange and black colour gown embroiled with a SEKOMU emblem and a hat, Rev. Dr. Anneth Munga humbly goes down on her knees at an altar with her head bent downwards before Rev. Joseph Jali (rtd).
Surrounded by fellow senior clergymen, she listens attentively to every word uttered by Rev. Jali while an audience on the foreground looks at what was happening.
The occasion was apparently nothing other than installing in office, Rev. Dr. Munga who had constitutionally been appointed Vice Chancellor of the newly inaugurated Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU) on mountain hills of Lushoto, in Tanga Region
It all started when on Sunday morning last week, a large congregation at former Sebastian Kolowa University College (SEKUCO) – a constituent entity of Tumaini University Makumira gathered to form a demonstration from the college’s campus A and proceeded to campus B.
Earlier, Bishop Stephen Munga, now SEKOMU Chancellor, laid a foundation stone at the University’s administrative block at Campus A to signal the inauguration of the now fully fledged University which had all along been operating as a college.
Bishop Munga, who also heads the North Eastern Diocese (NED) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT), led the procession. The crowd then snaked through a half kilometre forested stretch where on reaching the main hall, Right Rev. Dr. Alex Malasusa, the church’s head and Vice Chancellor of Tumaini University Makumira conducted a holly mass and delivered a sermon which was colorfully followed by various choir groups from both Tanga and parishes within Lushoto District.
Among them was the renowned Irente School of the Deaf in the district who entertained the audience- keeping them on their toes throughout
At this juncture, James Mwinuka, NED Executive Secretary General, then introduced invited distinguished guests to the audience ,beginning with Rev. Dr. Joseph Parsalaw , Vice Chancellor Tumaini University Makumira, Rev. Joseph Jali (rtd) and Bishop Charles Mjema of the Pare Diocese.
Others were Prof. Egbert Kessi ( KCMC College ), Prof Geofrey Mmari of Tumaini University Dar es Salaam and a representative from Stephano Moshi Memorial University College (SMMUCO).
The activity which followed was installation to office of new SEKOMU leadership. These included Geofrey Kingazi- Director of Finance, Josephat - Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance Administration and Planning and Dr. Andrew Mollel- Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Research and Consultancy.
In his speech, Rev. Dr. Joseph Parsalaw said former SEKUCO which had along been a constituent college of Tumaini University Makumira had made commendable strides to qualify for registration as an independent entity.
“We (Makumira) have been taking care of you since your inception way back in 2007. Now time has come that you stand on your own feet” said Rev. Dr. Parsalaw.
However, immediately, Rev. Munga, acknowledging all that Makumira had done for SEKUCO, said the fact that SEKOMU was now independent notwithstanding, the entity should not be deserted.
“When a mother terminates his or her child from sucking her breasts, the mother does not out off the breast because there would still be other uses of the body part”, remarked Rev. Dr. Munga, calling upon the mother university to provide guidance for the new entity whenever required.
The history of the new university dates back to October, 2007 when the college initially enrolled the first batch under the Bachelor of Education [ B.Ed SN] Programme Special needs.
In 2008/09 and 2009/10 academic years, two more programmes were added. These were Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Bachelor of Science in Eco Tourism and Nature Conservation respectively.
In its fifth year (2011), the number of students had shot up tremendously, recording 1331 students – against 138 students enrolled in 2007/08.
In July 2012, another programme, Bachelor of Science in Mental Health and Rehabilitation was launched.
According to Tumaini University Makumiras Prospectus for 2011-2012, former SEKUCO was initially a constituent college of Tumaini .
It is a Christ centred university that offers all programmes through the guidance and obedience to the word of God – conducting and promoting higher education learning, research and consultancy through scientific fact finding and enquiries.
The institutions vision is to actively profess human value and dignity of all society members, including people with disabilities.
“In our view, one of the criteria to measure a nation’s civilization is how it treats its citizens who have disabilities” says the prospectus.
It is for this reason that over a century ago, the North Eastern Diocese (NED) has been putting emphasis on supporting people who are at the lowest level of the social pyramid.
These are people with leprosy, the disabled, orphans, people with mental health problems and other vulnerable groups.
All programmes according to the prospectus will focus on the needs, rights and abilities of people with physical, sensory, intellectual and behavioral barriers.
An example of institutions handling cases of special needs is Lutindi Mental Hospital which was established in 1904 during the German colonial era.
The facility is run by the North Eastern Diocese (NED) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT).
The countrywide health facility will be used to provide practical training to students presently undergoing a course in Mental Heath and Rehabilitation at Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU).