Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Relentless in pursuit of a PhD dream


Dr Darius Mukiza, a recent Phd holder had to stay focused on his course so as to achieve his long-time academic dream.

“Keep your dreams alive, understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe,” these are words of an American retired track and field athlete, Gail Devers.

These words were personified by Dr Darius Mukiza, who stayed relentless in his pursuit for a PhD in Mass Communication. He decided to work on his dreams after eight years of struggling. PhD programme takes about three to four years but can take even longer due to different reasons.

The morning of January 25, this year, at Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College (TUDARCo), Success met with Dr Mukiza for an exclusive interview based on his long journey of pursuing for a Phd at St. Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT), Mwanza region.

Dr Mukiza, who is also an assistant lecturer and head of Department of Mass Communication at Tudarco, started his PhD journey on November 2009 up to November 2017.

He embraces an earnest smile as he speaks – a look that complements his humble yet courageous persona.

“This is the meaning of determination and tolerance. I didn’t plan to spend eight years pursuing a Phd. but I decided to stay on course, consequently forsaking 80 per cent of my business. Before joining the Phd programme I was a media consultant. But I decided to stop working, I left a lot of other opportunities such as trainings and other networks, as a result my revenue significantly reduced,” Dr Mukiza, who graduated with a Phd in November last year, says.

He stated the reason behind spending eight years pursuing a PhD was caused by different factors. On April 2012, then President Jakaya Kikwete appointed his supervisor to be among the members of The Tanzanian Constitutional Review Commission. For this reason, Dr Mukiza had to wait until 2015 before he got another supervisor.

“Second reason was the nature of my research. My topic included elements of politics and communication; unfortunately there was no lecturer of Political Communication because it was a new field. From the submission of my research proposal, the college couldn’t find an immediate supervisor. It took them a long time to find another supervisor. So that was the main challenge to me, ” says Dr Mukiza.

Two out of ten students graduated in November 2015, Dr Mukiza wasn’t one of them, he was still trying to finalise his Phd. Another class graduated the next year, still Dr Mukiza was not among the graduates. “It hurt to see my classmates graduating while I was left behind. I had to stay strong, that is why I believe in tolerance and determination. Fortunately I was able to graduate the following year, in November 2017,” the proud Phd holder says.

Dr Mukiza says PhD holders face a challenge when it comes to conducting research that could potentially solve social problems. There are problems of funding. He says stakeholders should invest funds to help publish research works conducted by PhD holders. Most Phd graduates leave their studies on shelves.

“We need to be serous in funding; we need to invest in studies for social development. A lot of PhD researches are stored in libraries, how can society solve their problems?” he asks.

The Phd graduate advises Tanzania to invest in PhD research programmes like other countries in order to encourage more researchers. Dr Mukiza, who is an expert of Political communication, says there is a big gap in society specifically in political campaigns and impacts to its people.

Research and publications of Mukiza

• ‘Editorial Autonomy and Quality Journalism in Tanzania Print Media Newsrooms: A study of Selected Newsrooms in Tanzania (2009)

• ‘The impact of ITV CRDB TEMBO CARD Ads in attracting customers in Mwanza City (2006).

Academic background

Mukiza went to Itongo Primary school in 1987/92 in Muleba district before joining Mkwawa high school in 1999/2001. In 2003/06 he joined St Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) for a Bachelor of Mass Communication.

He remain at SAUT for Masters in Mass Communication (MAMC) before proceeding with PHD in the same field