President Museveni has eulogised departed second Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Ali Muwaabe Kirunda Kivejinja, 85, as a “dedicated Pan-Africanist” who worked to make Africa a better place.
Kivejinja, a veteran Ugandan politician and senior presidential advisor to President Museveni, succumbed to COVID-19 on Saturday at Mulago National Referral Hospital.
“The late Rt. Hon. Kirunda Kivejinja will be remembered for his distinguished contribution to our liberation struggles to free Uganda and the whole of Africa from the yoke of Colonialism and the post-independence dictatorial regimes,” said Museveni in a tribute delivered by Premier Dr Ruhakana Rugunda.
Rugunda read the condolence message via zoom to mourners at Old Kampala mosque.
Museveni said Kivejinja was a “dedicated Pan-Africanist, who utilized his exceptional talents and vast education to advance the cause for liberty, unity and prosperity of the African continent. He nobly executed the responsibility of a true freedom fighter by living a life of sacrifice, discipline and humility.”
Kivejinja formed a comradeship with John Kakonge, Wadada Musani, Kintu Musoke and Bidandi Ssali to infuse their energies and organize a party linked to the Indian National Congress as a vehicle for independence aspirations.
He was instrumental in the founding of Uganda People’s Congress.
With contradictions in UPC party, he was expelled in 1965 with his colleagues because they advocated for a welfare state and retreated to an underground life at Sapoba Printers.
With the fall of Amin, he re-engaged in active politics as a member of the National Consultative Council and actively participated in the formation of the Uganda Patriotic Movement to contest the 1980 elections. UPM fronted Yoweri Museveni as presidential candidate.
When UPC came to power again in 1980, Kivejinja followed Yoweri Museveni to the bush in 1981 and was active in the organization of the armed movement as a member of the Resistance Council in Luwero triangle and Kampala with others like Eriya Kategaya, Moses Kigongo and Bakulumpagi Wamala.
Museveni today said the NRM party has lost a committed and patriotic mobiliser, whose “tireless efforts helped to deepen the roots of our historical mission to transform Uganda, from a peasant society into a modern and prosperous country.”
“To the family of the late Rt. Hon. Ali Muwaabe Kirunda Kivejinja, I pray that God gives you the fortitude and courage to go through this moment of loss and sorrow. The death of a loved one is always a time of agony because of the beautiful memories you shared with them,” said Museveni.
The president said it was his prayer that even in the midst of this sad loss, “you find reason to thank God, for the time He has allowed you to share with him. I ask that you celebrate his life and dwell on his wonderful achievements, which have touched and transformed the lives of many people. Though his earthly life has come to an end, I urge you to carry on his great work and to continue in the path of his exemplary legacy.”