Plagiarism is corruption, it widely prevails & is tolerated in Uganda

“Does anyone know a Professor called Michael Kaluya, Ugandan-born and based at a university in Texas in the United States? The reason I ask is because in 2011 he published a book titled “The Audacity to Change: Breaking The Berlin Wall in Africa”.

In one of the chapters, he reproduced word-for-word some research I had been doing since 2006 asking several of my friends and colleagues the question “What puzzles you about Africans?” Their names and replies are all there in Kaluya’s book, in the order in which I wrote them down and even edited them. “Professor” Kaluya did not acknowledge his source of that research and did not contact me for permission.

If anybody knows of this Ugandan-born professor and knows the Texas university where he is an assistant professor of Economics, contact the university and let them know about this. He should be named, shamed – and fired for that intellectual dishonesty.” 

Timothy Kalyegira, Facebook, 5th August 2017

Many went on the attack, accusing Kalyegira of being an attention seeker who should have somehow privately contacted Kaluya instead of posting on social media his beef with the one who plagiarised his work. I was puzzled. And Kaluya had the audacity to, in his view, rebuff Kalyegira’s accusation by commenting(copied verbatim):

Am getting a lot of information regarding my book, “The Audacity to Change! Breaking the Berlin Wall in Africa” being circulated by by famous monitor columnist – Mr. Timothy Kalyegira that his work was plagiarized in the book – I need to get this out of the way with this:

Everything addressed in one of the chapters was acknowledged and referenced in the beginning of that chapter — there was no permission needed coz the survey and findings were widely available on the internet: the source on the internet is also referenced in my other references.

Timothy needs to understand the etiquettes of published work especially if he gave up ownership of his writing to the web where millions research! U.S. publisher of book overwhelmingly accepted manuscript after all quality checks were done — which is required here by any publisher!

Those who have not read the book u r encouraged to do so — there is a lot of information we can use to change the development paradigm in Africa!!! At the same time Timothy needs to understand the specifics involved in using secondary data – which I did in that book.

Michael Kaluya

I cringed. My instant reaction was: Say what?

How can a whole professor write so poorly, as Kaluya – several questionable things within just a paragraph? Interestingly, those things which Kalyegira can never tolerate are packed in that one paragraph of Kaluya’s comment; making Kalyegira instantly the better writer, in my view.

How can a whole professor think that “there was no permission needed coz the survey and findings were widely available on the internet?” Oh yes, Kalyegira asked Kaluya to explain what he meant by “widely available on the internet.” As far as I know Kaluya did not do so.

How is it possible that a whole professor thinks that Kalyegira has given up the “ownership of his writing to the web where millions research?” WHAAAAAAAT!

Am thinking, he really expects me, a scholar who has not read his book, to find interest in it when he admits questionable ethics and admits theft of another scholar’s work. No kidding? What puzzles you about Africans indeed?

Kaluya should have had the humility, at the very least, to do as Professor PLO Lumumba did when he was caught – he admitted and apologised: “Yes, I stole lawyers work, and I am sorry.”

Yes, the more I read Kaluya’s explanations and responses to Kalyegira’s assertion that Kaluya plagerised Kalyegira’s work, the more angry that I got. Judging from his responses, Kaluya is seemingly a fraud, an arrogant one at that.

Kalyegira did right to name and shame him; and I thank Kalyegira for that. Lifting one’s work word for word is unacceptable. When you do so you are no longer using another’s work as a reference source, you are stealing another’s work.

Kaluya’s responses have put me off completely and also. His book is not worth buying if it contains that which is “widely available on the internet”; better to access and read from the original source from whom Kaluya by his admittance took from.

I have zero tolerance to plagiarism, a crime for which I have refused to be a cowering victim. When it comes to plagiarism I am a victor. As Kalyegira did, when I find out I name and shame.

What puzzles you about Africans? I am constantly befuddled by our tolerance of known criminals.

6 responses to “Plagiarism is corruption, it widely prevails & is tolerated in Uganda”

  1. No doubt this Kaluya is an unrepentant thief, so I won’t say more on that.

    What I wonder about, though, is what the book is about! “The audacity to change” part is fairly lacking in originality, itself, but I suppose people are free to use individual words and even phrases, and then I wonder what “Berlin wall” he might be talking about – I couldn’t imagine how such an analogy could apply in the African context, and although I have no intention of reading the book either I couldn’t help checking out the book sample to find out.

    This is what the erudite Professor has to say in the introduction to the book:

    “In comparing the situation in Berlin to the African continent’s level of backwardness, I see the majority of poor Africans facing similar circumstances daily, though the reality is that the wall of backwardness in Africa is not a physical barrier that warrants breaking, as happened in Germany.”

    What does this even mean???

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While, “Professor Kaluya castigates fellow Africans, especially the leaders and intellectuals of the African continent to understand how significant BACKWARDNESS has remained a major aspect in holding the continent in the dark.”

    You castigate him, per your assertion, “Lifting one’s work word for word is unacceptable. When you do so you are no longer using another’s work as a reference source, you are stealing another’s work.”

    Norah, if I am not wrong, it appears that you consider prof. Kaluya’s behavior as an example of BACKWARDNESS of an intellectual. Could it be, therefore, that he was just putting in practice what he was writing about?


    • “Norah, if I am not wrong, it appears that you consider prof. Kaluya’s behavior as an example of BACKWARDNESS of an intellectual.”

      I consider Kaluya’s behavior criminal. As a cultural anthropologist I have issues with cultural imperialism – such as the popular use of the concept “backwardness”.

      Liked by 1 person

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