Ugandan lady achieves academic firsts in S Africa

21 Oct

By Stephen Twinoburyo

I was invited to join friends on October 21, 2010 in giving moral support to a Ugandan lady that was attaining an academic achievement of historic proportions. Prof Annet Wanyana Oguttu was giving her inaugural lecture as a professor in the College of Law at the University of South Africa (Unisa). The topic was “The challenges of tax sparing: A call to reconsider the policy in South Africa”. The event took place in the packed Senate Hall of Unisa.

Prof Oguttu (seated) receiving a vote of thanks from Prof MC Mare

The welcome address was given by the Vice Principal Academic Research, Prof MC Mare. This was then followed by an introduction by the Executive Dean of the College of Law, Prof NL Mahao, who read an impressive CV of the new professor and marveled at her commitment to academic work.

Professor Oguttu then came on and gave an intensely academic but yet captivating lecture on tax law and treaties governing countries. She thoroughly discussed the issue of tax sparing such that some of us left the hall feeling like tax experts. She went through the potential benefits of tax sparing treaties between countries, examined the developments in this area undertaken by bodies like OECD and also cautioned on the potential dangers, especially areas of possible abuse.

What I found important to South Africa were the closing recommendations she made. To show that the government held her lecture in great regard, the Chief Director of tax and compliance at the South African National Treasury, together with some members of his staff were in attendance. It was reported that the South African government is in the process of signing some tax treaties and Prof Oguttu’s work is crucial in guiding the government. She recommended that South Africa re-examine and re-model some of its existing tax treaties as some of them are unworkable, unfavourable or open to abuse. She also made important recommendations for future tax sparing treaties and I think this is information the National Treasury officials found very useful. Prof Oguttu is undoubtedly an asset to the country’s tax laws.

Professor Oguttu ended by thanking her colleagues that supported her through her journey to this position. She thanked the large group of Ugandans that came to give her support, friends, lecturers from the neighbouring University of Pretoria, members of the College of Law present as well as members of her church. She also recognised her country Uganda, the pearl of Africa, and thanked her father, Mr Francis Kiggundu, that flew from Uganda to share with her family this great moment. As would be expected the greatest vote of thanks went to her family. She thanked her husband, Dr James Oguttu, who also works at the same university. She says he has been the driving force behind her achievement and a great pillar of support. He edited her work and guided her in her research that sometimes she wondered if he is not an expert in tax law. Her two young children too have been an inspiration. Though they may not have fully grasped the enormity of the occasion, it may in future provide a memory that spurs them on. As a Christian, she gives glory to God for all her achievements. She made two parting comments that will surely act as an inspiration to many: “if one has a dream and is hard-working, nothing will stand in their way” and “unless God builds a house, the builder builds in vain”.

Prof Oguttu (in red) with dad and friends

The moment that left everybody agape came when the head of the Mercantile Law department, Prof M Sigwadi, gave a closing response. In 2009, Prof Oguttu was recognized by the University of Michigan for her outstanding academic work. She is the second woman, and the first black woman, to have completed a doctorate in tax law at a South African university. And now this…. she is the first woman to be appointed a full professor at the College of Law of the university of South Africa. From my estimation, the oldest she can be is 40 years of age. Her and her husband are a young couple. What an achievement! I have known this family for the past couple of years and I am proud to have them as friends. The intellectual discussions I have held with Dr James Oguttu have always been stimulating and educative. The two Oguttus are a great inspiration.

This is an achievement obtained at Unisa, a top ranked university in Africa and one that produces the largest number of LLB graduates in South Africa, far exceeding the Department (ministry) of education targets.

Professor Oguttu deserves red carpet treatment. Such achievements are rare. You indeed do us proud!

Prof Oguttu (black top) with dad and friends.



Posted by on October 21, 2010 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs


25 responses to “Ugandan lady achieves academic firsts in S Africa

  1. Daniel

    October 22, 2010 at 01:41

    Vey inspiring Stephen. Thank you for sharing such vital information…

  2. Edith Kiggundu

    October 22, 2010 at 02:06

    God is Faithful Annet. W e are pround of you.

    • Dr Edith Kiggundu

      October 22, 2010 at 02:09

      We are proud of you.

    • Prof Annet Wanyana Oguttu

      October 25, 2010 at 07:45

      Hi Edith,
      God is faithful indeed. How are you keeping?

  3. skaheru

    October 22, 2010 at 04:24

    Email this to The New Vision, please. You know the address to use…Good stuff.

  4. Twino Speaks

    October 22, 2010 at 05:07

    Sure Simon, thanks. I have already done so.

  5. Andrew Sematimba

    October 22, 2010 at 06:21

    Very good article , this is inspiring to all Ugandans

  6. Martin

    October 22, 2010 at 06:26


  7. Dr Drabile

    October 22, 2010 at 06:40

    Congrants Annet. Ladies, I know you have done before and you can do more and more. Annet has led the way let run/flow after her. The more the merrier for the progress and development of the world. Remember “You educate a woman you edcate & build a Nation. Well done lady.
    Dr Drabile”

    • Prof Annet Wanyana Oguttu

      October 22, 2010 at 13:58

      Dear Friends,

      Thank you all for the support and Love. This achievement makes me so proud for being a Ugandan. Stephen, you are a great – you summed up so well. Cheers! and let the “Pearl of Africa” continue to shine!!

      • Ndagire

        October 25, 2010 at 11:24

        Well done Annet !

        May the good Lord continue to bless and keep you & family in all future endeavors.
        …and thanks Stephen Twinoburyo for acknowledging a well -deserved achievement!

        Ndagire Kizito

  8. Dan

    October 22, 2010 at 09:42

    Great work and very inspiring.

  9. drake

    October 22, 2010 at 11:58

    ……Steve, quite Inspiring… Thanks for documenting this… We need more of this

  10. Twino Speaks

    October 22, 2010 at 14:06

    Annet, you make me feel almost more proud than you who attained this great achievement. You really make not only our country shine but Africa as a whole as well as women and all people who aspire to greatness. We love to hear positive things and your achievement lifts us up. My duty was a simple one – to report this enormous achievement to the rest of the world. Thank you very much.

  11. Yayiro Kasasa

    October 22, 2010 at 14:26

    More God’s blessing.
    Keep the fire burning

  12. Twino Speaks

    October 23, 2010 at 09:23

    As the administrator of this blog, I am able to see how many hits (reads) each post gets. This has by far been the most read post. I think it’s an indication that people love to hear positive things. (The highest til this was the one on Mr Mwenda’s article).

  13. Bewaayo

    October 25, 2010 at 08:19

    congrats to the prof.
    Steve thanks for the info you keep us in touch with good thing aih!

  14. Charles L.

    October 25, 2010 at 08:56

    Congratulations Sister!

    You have real made us proud.
    Glory be to God.

  15. Twino Speaks

    October 25, 2010 at 21:33

    In my opinion, these are the kind of people we need to celebrate and hold as national icons. We have seen reality show participants being received as heroes but what Prof Oguttu has done here is something that will have a lasting memory on Uganda, an achievement that has even been attained on behalf of all women and a motivation for all aspiring and ambitious young people. If I were a Ugandan leader, she is somebody I would call and congratulate.

  16. Namubiru

    October 27, 2010 at 15:02

    Thanks for sharing Stephan. This is truly inspirational, may the good God continue to bless you Prof Oguttu

  17. Rugumira Henry

    October 29, 2010 at 10:00

    Annet. You have really made us proud. My the God keep you in excellent health to achieve more for the family, for women and for Uganda

  18. Mugerwa Steven Oscar

    November 1, 2010 at 14:01

    Hi Congs!, We are so proud of you Anne, may the good Lord bless you the more, Thanks to dear Friends, Edith, Stephen and every body, You have really made us proud and contribued to her Excellency.

  19. Prof Annet Wanyana Oguttu

    November 12, 2010 at 08:40

    Hi dears,

    Once again thanks for the kind regards and congratulations. I have also received numerous calls from Uganda telling me that an abridged version of this article has been published in Weekly Observer. Thanks Stephen – you are one of the many unsang heros behind this achievement!

  20. Twino Speaks

    November 14, 2010 at 17:23

    Thank you Annet.

    You have indeed been an inspiration to many of us. You have taught us that with determination – and trust in God – barriers can be broken. May you continue to shine.

  21. William Odoch

    November 16, 2010 at 22:26


    Good stuff and thanx man.

    God bless


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