• “Bagire vs Bagiire: When a single ‘i” makes the difference”

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July 16, 2021 by 

This is the second time I am showered with congratulatory messages for becoming a “Permanent Secretary”. The last time was about seven years ago. The President in Exercise of his authority appointed new Permanent Secretaries (PSs) and shuffled some in 2014. A staff of MUBS in the department that I headed at that time, was appointed a PS for the Ministry of Energy. On the same list a similar name to mine appeared as PS for the Ministry of ICT. Immediately calls flowed. I was baffled a bit having missed the news bulletin. Not likely that the President could appoint me PS without a prior notice.   

The scenario has reoccurred. A staff from the Department of Economics at MUBS has been named PS Ministry of Finance. On the same list a name similar to mine appeared  as PS Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Up to midnight Thursday July 15 2021 messages poured in; calls, SMS, whatsup, emails; when close family friends hit on my phone engaged, they dialed my wife to be among the first to share the excitement. Instead, as an archetypal academic, I was stuck on my desk polishing a manuscript for an Elsvier journal.  I picked a few calls and responded to some messages to share the “bad news”. I had done the same seven years ago. I was not the new PS Ministry of Foreign Affairs! I reached for my phone to send him a congratulatory message; but as a student of management, I turned to writing this blog. I will text or call him later.

Using the principle of storytelling Iam sharing this brief narration in order to communicate lessons, complex thoughts, concepts, and causal connections that at times we take for granted in organizational life. When a single ‘i’ differentiates our names, it may pass in administrative interactions but in computer code it would not. When I explain that my single ‘i’ reflects Bunyoro and double ‘ii’ is its cousin in Busoga, friends tease it off as an artifact of historical distortion of our cultural heritage.  But many students have had a bitter piece of it; they have redone the cover page of their bound dissertations for this seemingly small error when I decline to sign. I also don’t sign when they omit a second ‘n’ in our first name. Our first name is Vincent! They look at me in astonishment; humbly turn away to go and meet costs for a single ‘i’.   

I have received calls from government agencies  inquiring on ministerial matters; my reply is usually simple, ‘I am not yet the PS, but still a humble academic with MUBS’. My double namesake may also have received misdirected calls. In management teaching, this simple story plots themes of life, values, priorities, concerns, interests and experiences that create patterns. A simple lesson is to discover what this means to myself and my double namesake, communities that we serve and peer to peer architecture where our names matter; what could be the consequences; is there any vulnerability?

Vincent Bagire is an Associate Professor of Management

and Deputy Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at MUBS,

email: vbagire@mubs.ac.ug

Vincent Bagiire is the newly appointed PS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Muyugu saffi

July 16, 2021 at 21:13.

Cong’s hon

Abbey Ssebaggala

July 16, 2021 at 22:30.

I was truly Suprised. I was like the president deceided to take away all our good people from MUBS. Good that you’re one step forward to getting there.😊

Atuhura Tadeo

July 17, 2021 at 10:42.

Well articulated. You must be in the mind of the appointing authority. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Edson Ojilong

July 18, 2021 at 02:53.

Just like that, a friend calls me, “Have you heard? Prof. Vincent Bagire has also been appointed PS.” I had heard of the earlier case and had to tell my friend to wait for a few years. I may come to pass. I hope Vincent Bagiire is also working hard to become a Professor if he’s receiving calls about the “Elsvier Jounal things”

Akankwasa Sharifu

July 18, 2021 at 12:56.


Bagiire Moses

July 18, 2021 at 17:46.

Warm congratulations @Bagire vs Bagiire

Yai Mayen

July 19, 2021 at 16:10.

Time will come for your single “i” and make it to the top post > PS ..Associate Professor Vincent Bagire.