Uganda Political Icon Dr Kawanga Ssemogerere’s Candle Burns Out

Net picture of Kyagulanyi (left) and Ssemogerere (right)

The country is mourning the death of a political icon, Dr Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, whose candle burnt out in the wee hours of Friday morning. You cannot reads stories or books or watch documentaries about Uganda’s political strides and you don’t come across the name Ssemogerere.

When you chose to take a bite on Uganda’s political party politics you will come across the name Ssemogerere as one of the eminent leaders of the oldest political party The Democratic Part- DP. Ssemogerere who has now joined the list of Uganda’s political and leadership echelons to have died recently, first became DP President in 1972 when he replaced Benedicto Kiwanuka whose death has remained a mystery.

Kiwanuka who was a Chief Justice was allegedly killed by remnants of President Idi Amin after he refused to heed to directive to give a judicial decision in favour of the ‘supreme’ government of the time.

He exiled himself especially during the political turbulence that characterized Amin’s government. He later became the minister for labour after the collapse of Amin’s government in 1979 and in 1980, he again ascended to DP’s top leadership.

It is speculated that Ssemogerere won the 1980 presidential election but the poll organizers who were mostly allies to Dr Milton Obote chose to declare the latter the winner at the expense of the former.

The 1980 chaotic election where the current Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, participated and scored a paltry of votes, was the genesis of the five year bush war that brought him to power which he has clanged to up to date.  

But the controversial 1980 election left Ssemogerere as the leader of Opposition in Parliament. When Obote 11 was overthrown in1985, Tito Okello government appointed Ssemogerere minister for internal affairs. However, Okello’s government did not last long as it was toppled by Museveni in 1986.

Between 1986 and 1995, Ssemogerere served in Museveni’s government as minister for internal affairs, foreign affairs, public service and deputy prime minister. But he resigned in 1995 in order to face off with his boss Museveni in the 1996 presidential elections but lost to the latter.

To cut the long story short, Ssemogerere has died attempting to unite Uganda’s Opposition political parties and politicians. Towards the 2021 presidential elections which many have described as the most chaotic following the shooting and killing of more 50 people during campaigns, Ssemogerere tried to make Opposition political rally behind one presidential candidate but this never came true.

Political bigwigs have taken twitter to eulogize Ssemogerere for his political service to Uganda and many have described his demise as a huge loss to the country.

“Today is a very dark day. Words cannot describe this loss. Mzee Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere stands tall amongst the giants of history. May his legacy live forever,” Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine the former presidential candidate said.

Renowned city lawyer and Buganda kingdom minister David Mpaga said: “I have just learned of the passing of Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere! We have lost a great statesman. I had the privilege of drinking from the well of his wisdom. I admired his intellect and humility. Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, said: “On behalf of Parliament, I send heartfelt condolences to the family of the Hon Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, the Democratic Party fraternity and the Country at large upon the loss of a statesman and distinguished leader who dedicated his life to the service of Uganda.”

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