Dr. Walter Masiga during his farewell speech.
Dr Walter N. Masiga, the first OIE Sub-Regional Representative for the eastern African region, took up his new post on the 1 January 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya. His responsibilities covered the then 12 OIE Member Countries of the OIE and included liaison with the AU-IBAR, IGAD and EAC Secretariats on matters of animal health, welfare and zoonoses. Meanwhile, this coverage has been extended to include South Sudan and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) Secretariat.
Dr Masiga, a Kenya national, graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) degree from the University of East Africa in 1967. He began his veterinary career with the East African Veterinary Research Organization (EAVRO) as a scientist. He undertook a Post Graduate Diploma in Bacteriology (Dip. Bact) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1969 followed with Doctorate (PhD) degree from the University of Nairobi with a focus on Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) in 1973.
In his line of duty, Dr Masiga rose through the ranks from Scientist, Principal Veterinary Research Officer in EAVRO and finally to Director and Chief Scientist with the Veterinary Research Department of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). In 1985, he joined the Organization of African Unity (OAU) – now African Union (AU) – where he served as the Director of the Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and Head of the AU Diplomatic Mission in Kenya from 1985 to 2000.
Dr Masiga’s contribution to science and development is well known through his numerous publications in various fields ranging from the development of vaccines against CBPP, Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP) and East Coast Fever (ECF); trypanosomiasis control, research in Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF); and in his leadership role during the Pan African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC) project which was a collaboration between the African national governments, AU-IBAR, FAO and OIE, with funding support from the European Union (EU) Member States and other partners to eradicate rinderpest from Africa. Due to his efforts, he was, in 1993, awarded an Honorary degree of Doctor of Science (D.Sc) from Tufts University, Boston USA.
Besides a scientific career, Dr. Masiga has been a sports fanatic. He served as the Chairman of the “AFC Leopards Sports Club” in Kenya during which under his tenure, the team won national football leagues and the East and Central Africa club championship three times from 1981 to 1993.
All pictures (c) P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2016, except where mentioned otherwise
The OIE Deputy Representative and incoming acting Representative, Dr. Samuel Wakhusama, performing the duties of master of ceremony. Picture (c) P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2016.
To mark Dr Masiga’s retirement and departure, an event was held in at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Upper Hill, Nairobi on the 18th November 2016 which afforded the Government of Kenya, as well as representatives of national, regional and international technical agencies, civil society organisations and regional economic communities, industry stakeholders, friends and family, the opportunity to wish Walter well on his retirement and his return to Kitale, in western Kenya.
All well-wishers present enjoyed the appreciative speeches with regard to the outgoing Representative. On his parting shot Dr Masiga said that he believed OIE had served the Member Countries of the region well and will continue to do so in the following years.
Awaiting the appointment of a new Representative, the current Deputy-Representative, Dr. Samuel Wakhusama will assume the position of acting Representative from 1 January 2017.