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Geere’s Ugandan adventure ends amid ‘Gay Bill’ row

Award-winning former editor Alan Geere is looking for work again after his move to Uganda to set up a journalism training school turned sour.

The former Essex Chronicle boss and Northcliffe South East editorial director stepped down last year to run a new course training journalists in Kampala.

But the course has now had to close amid a political row over the introduction of legislation in the East African state designed to clamp down on homosexuality.

All the students have been refunded the last term’s fees and the academic staff, including Alan, were given three days to clear their desks.

Alan set out the story behind the sudden closure in a post on his blog entitled:  “The Victoria University Dream:  How it all ended in tears.”

“Two years hard work unravelled in a matter of days. The students were told they could have a refund for last term’s fees while the academic staff were given three days to clear their desks and were paid off as per their contracts,” he said.

The students in Kampala had been studying a course validated by the privately-run University of Buckingham in the UK.

However Alan said that just days before the new term was due to start, staff were told that courses validated by the University had been suspended.

A statement on the Victoria University website explained:  “Under both UK and Ugandan law discrimination on a variety of grounds is prohibited; however there are fundamental differences between the two nations’ respective laws regarding equality and diversity, which cannot be reconciled.

“After seeking legal guidance from both UK and Ugandan lawyers, Victoria University and University of Buckingham have concluded that as the laws of Uganda and UK presently stand, Victoria University cannot comply with both sets of laws.”

Added Alan:  “This is all about the so-called ‘Gay Bill’, which was due to be presented to Parliament early this year. It calls for severe penalties for people who engage in homosexual acts and even threatens punishment for anyone who knows about others who know about any such behaviour.”

“It is not for me to speculate on the whys and wherefores of this decision, but no-one at Buckingham, apart from the deputy vice chancellor Professor Alistair Alcock, appeared to know anything about this move.”

Asked about his future plans, Alan told HTFP:  “As Del Boy famously said to Rodney: ‘The world is my lobster.’

“Who know’s what is next for me, but this is such a challenging and exciting time for journalism – and journalism education –  that I hope I can continue to make a contribution in some meaningful way. And I make a mean cup of tea!”


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  • January 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Oh, Geere, What have you done now? Hope it all works out for you.

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  • January 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    While it is unfortunate that Mr. Geere’s plans and his Ugandan students were dashed, a greater cause was advanced in the name of human decency.

    Had the battle been over proposed incarceration, and further abuses, against a religious, racial, or ethnic group, I do not think that Geere would have a hard time understanding why this act of a severance of ties, by the University of Buckingham, was so important to do.

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