By Kampala Sun writer
To go, or not to go: that is the question that lingered in Allawi Ssemanda mind. Peers admired him for holding a job as a news anchor in Uganda’s biggest media house, Vision Group.
He worked with Radio west, a country based station affiliated to the media house. For ten years, he settled into a routine, where he could pocket no more than $100 (Sh360, 000) a month.
Most of his friends married off with the salary and settled for the rural life. They lived averagely thereafter. For Ssemanda, he itched to better his life by going back to school hoping to stand out in the competitive job market. He fell in love with the academia and looks back with a smile at the sacrifice.
The former news anchor has a PhD degree in International Relations and is pursuing another PhD in Communication. “I plan to complete my second PhD program next year (2021) and then I will think about marriage and starting a family,” the 33-year old says.
When the chance to study came, Ssemanda who had explored several opportunities finally left Uganda in 2013. The undergraduate student at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, (MUST) started it off with a Master’s degree in Peace and Development Work in Sweden.
At the time, he also worked with 11gården, Växjö municipality as a youth volunteer. Two years later in 2015, he joined the research department at the same place looking compiling data for youth who had lost jobs.
As he did this, he also took on simple jobs such as mushroom picking in forests during spring and harvesting grapes. It gave him an extra income. He looks at such moments with a tinge of nostalgia and pride.
Today, he is a member of BRICS Think Tank, Moscow; has published a Book on Global Governance with title; Global Governance and Norm Contestation: How BRICS is Reshaping World Order. (The book has been translated into four languages).
He is on an upward pedestal. Ssemanda is also the Associate Director of a Foreign Policy Think Tank called Development Watch Center which focuses on analysis of East African Countries’ Foreign Policy.
Presently, he is a Research Fellow at Centre for Global, Policy and Strategic Studies and a Research assistant Jönköping university. His is a story of determination. He advises that it is important to believe in a dream and never give up. He also describes himself as “a happy individual that loves to live but cannot stand injustice,”