ADJUMANI. Mr Paulino Mukosa Vusso (born on December 15, 1952) is a retired teacher and politician. He has been described by many as a tolerant, cooperative and hardworking man.

Vusso, who is currently serving as Adjumani district elders’ forum chairperson was elected to the position in 2015 shortly after the death of the then chairperson, Anjela Kaba.

Before joining the elders’ forum, Vusso had set a record of being one of the few obedient teachers in the country, who served until retirement age without any disciplinary case.

He got inspired to start working hard when Late, Idi Amin Dada, the former President of the Republic of Uganda personally signed his appointment letter to join the teaching profession at the age of 22.

However, much as Vusso is retired from active civil service and politics, he still commands lots of respect for his role in fighting for the creation of Adjumani district and making it what it is today.

With the influx of South Sudan refugees in Adjumani district, Vusso now uses the elders’ platform to champion peace among the refugees and their hosting communities within the district.

At 66 years, he is equally known for advocating for dialogue in internal and external land conflicts in Adjumani district with the latest being between the people of Madi in Adjumani and those of Acholi in Amuru district over Apaa land which resulted into loss of close to ten lives.

Early life and Education

Paulino Mukosa Vusso was born on December 15, 1952 to Late Virigilo Umbala (Father) and Late Paskwalina Ugaba (Mother) of Pakondo clan in Pakondo village, Cecia parish, in the present Adjumani town council.

Vusso went for his Primary one at Mugi primary school (PS) at the age of 8 in 1960 where he only studied P.1 and P.2.

His parents later shifted to settle in Ciforo Central, Ciforo Sub County, a condition that forced him to join Lowa PS in Ciforo Sub County for his P.3 and P.4.

From Lowa PS, Vusso transferred to St Charles Lwanga PS Cesia back to Adjumani town council where he completed his primary education in 1966.

He then, joined Moyo secondary school (SS) as one of the pioneer students under the head mastership of Late Palia Ebi from 1967 to 1970 when he completed S.4.

Since government was allowing S.4 leavers to join National Teachers’ Colleges (NTC) due to shortage of teachers in the country at that time, Vusso, who was throughout being paid by his father decided to crossover to the teaching profession by joining NTC at Kyambogo which was then under Makerere University.

He later completed his Diploma in Education as awarded by Makerere University in 1974. It was at this time that President Idi Aman Dada signed his appointment letter to officially join the teaching profession.

Career

Vusso was immediately, posted to St. Aloysius College Nyapea in the present Zombo district as a Physics and Mathematics teacher in late 1974. He was one of the teachers, who replaced Whites at Nyapea SS at that time.

However, Vusso taught at Nyapea for only two years and was later transferred by government to Old Kampala SS in Kampala capital city where he was a classroom teacher up to 1978.

From Kampala, Vusso decided to return back home to start Adjumani SS, a school that picked up in a year and later got disrupted by the 1979 war that ousted Amin from power.

The war also forced Vusso with all students and fellow teachers of Adjumani SS to flee into exile in the then Sudan, now South Sudan.

While in Sudan, due to the love for his profession, Vusso joined Juba Commercial SS in Juba town and taught up to 1986 when President Yoweri Museveni came to power and started calling all Ugandans in exile to return home.

On his return in1986, Vusso restarted Adjumani SS and at the same time, got elected as the Resistance Council (RC) chairman of Ciforo village in Mugi Parish, Ciforo Sub County, a position he held besides teaching.

It was until 1996 when locals also valued Vusso’s political service and decided to elect him as the Ciforo Sub County RC5 councilor to Moyo district that he suspended teaching due to accumulated council work pressure.

While in Moyo district council, Vusso was one of the councilors from Moyo East County, who moved a motion to elevate the county to a district status.

It is because of his spirited debate that the district council succumbed to pressure and approved the creation of Adjumani district which became operational in 1997.

After accomplishing his mission of curving Adjumani from Moyo district, Vusso declined to contest again in 2001 but decided to enrol back into the teaching profession.

At this time round, Vusso used his documents which were an equivalent of a Grade One primary school head teacher to join Gwere PS as the school’s headmaster in 2001.

Vusso only served at Gwere PS for one year and thereafter, he was transferred to head various primary schools including; Biyaya PS, Ayeri PS, Kureku PS and Magburu PS among others until his retirement in December 2012.

After his retirement, he was first elected the General Secretary of Adjumani elders’ forum headed by Anjela Kaba.

But when Kaba died in 2015, Adjumani elders sat and decided to elevate Vusso as their new chairperson, a position he is holding up to date.

Besides being the elders’ chairperson of the district, Vusso is also a member of Adjumani farmers’ development association board and also the chairperson of Ciforo water development board in Ciforo Sub County.

Personal Life

Vusso got married to Lucy Vusso in 1979 and God blessed them with nine children; six boys and three girls.

All his children are educated with seven working and two still looking for employment. His eldest son, Dr Stanly Arudraga is a veterinary doctor by profession. Arudraga is followed by Emmanuel Akuku, a grade five teacher now pursuing his degree in Agriculture from Kyambogo University.

The rest of the children are equally graduates with various degrees in different professions.

Hobbies

Vusso likes reading Novels and Newspapers.

He is also a fan of backyard gardening which he practices in his day to day life.

He equally likes traditional dance and drama.

Ancestry

Vusso’s history stretches from Acholi where his grandmother, Marry Owichi is believed to have come from.

His grandfather, Ijuemgbe Mukosa married Owichi, an adopted daughter of the Great Ayo Kabia, the Chief of Lowi clan in Adjumani district.

Reports indicate that Kabia adopted Owichi from Chief Awach of Acholi as a young girl.

But as Owichi grew up at Kabia’s home, Ijuemgbe sighted her and later got married to her. The two produced Vusso’s father, Virigilo Umbala as their third born of about 20 children.

When Umbala also grew up, he started farming and doing petty businesses in Adjumani town and its neighbouring areas which gave him an opportunity to land on Paskwalina Ugaba from Pacoro clan across River Nile in Laropi Sub County, Moyo district.

Ugaba was Umbala’s first wife of the three women he got married to. He produced with her a total of eight children of whom, Vusso is the third born.

But out of the eight, only four of Umbala’s children are still living, the rest have died. Those alive are; Vusso’s elder, Stephen Buni, who is also a teacher at Adjumani SS, Vusso himself, Celina Kario, a nutritionist and their last born, Betty Kario, a civil Engineer.

Umbala paid the school fees of all his children. Umbala, who never stepped in a classroom, used to tell his children that lack of education must stop with him, a reason he paid for all his children’s school fees.

Similarly, all his children including Vusso, lived to fulfill his legacy by also paying the school fees of their own children up to different higher levels of education.

Achievements

As a teacher, Vusso used his knowledge to nurture many Ugandan children into useful citizens and also used his position at that time, to offer scholarships for needy children besides paying school fees for his own children.

Vusso was one of the founding members of Uganda national teachers’ union (UNATU), an umbrella body formed to address teachers’ concerns in the country. He also later, contributed in formation of Adjumani head teachers’ association to cater for head teachers’ problems in Adjumani district.

Still on education, Vusso was one of Adjumani district officials who pushed for a feeding program in schools, a move which later increased enrolment in various primary and secondary schools in the district.

Meanwhile Vusso’s role in Moyo council to create Adjumani district has been seen as his greatest achievements in the history of Adjumani and West Nile region at large.

And through the elders’ forum, he has been commended for convincing land lords in Adjumani district to offer free land for settling hundreds of refugees in the district thus promoting peaceful co-existence between refugees and the host communities.

Vusso is also known for conducting financial landscape survey in Moyo and Adjumani districts which resulted into the opening of several commercial banks and other financial institutions in Moyo and Adjumani towns.

Recognition

Vusso received a Labour Day medal from President Yoweri Museveni on May 1, 2013.

He also attained a political education certificate from national school of political education in Kyankwanzi in 1993.

In 2000, Vusso got a certificate in Human Rights awareness.

He equally received a certificate in fund raising and resource mobilization from World University services UK.

References

1) Daily Monitor http://www.monitor.co.ug/artsculture/Reviews/Idi-Amin-signed-my-appointment-letter/691232-2434244-ggloxez/index.html

2) Daily Monitor (facebook) https://www.facebook.com/DailyMonitor/posts/10152300376312197

3) UNHCR http://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2004/8/41177f964/refugee-kids-continue-lessons-ugandas-schools.html