By Raymond Baguma
Uganda’s former ambassador to Paris and the United Nations, Eldad Wapenyi has died.
The ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson Elly Kamahungye said that Wapenyi died Monday evening from his home in Muyenga, a Kampala suburb.
“He has been sick for some time,” added Kamahungye.
According to Kamahungye, Wapenyi was born in 1936 in Mbale district and was among the pioneer group of ambassadors of post-independent Uganda.
He was also at one time the permanent secretary of the ministry of foreign affairs and later worked as the Principal Private Secretary of former President Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa.
Prof. Arthur Gakwandi, who was Wapenyi’s contemporary as a Foreign Service Officer said, “He was a patriot, suave, open-minded and consummate diplomat. We met in the 1960 and worked together and in retirement, I have been playing golf with him.”
Ambassador Eldad Kanyanya Wapenyi, 77, was a career diplomat who rose through the ranks from a Foreign Service officer, to become an ambassador and served in various mission representing Uganda, including the UN Permanent Mission in New York.
He was born on 15th August 1936 in Gulu, where his father had been posted as a police constable. The young Wapenyi, although a Mugisu, spoke fluent Acholi.
When his father was transferred to Kampala, the young Wapenyi studied from Nsambya Police Barracks School. For his junior and secondary school, he attended Busoga College Mwiri before joining Makerere University College in 1958. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1962.
He was one of the first graduates to receive a degree certificate from the first Prime Minister of the newly independent Uganda in 1963.
In April 1962, he was appointed into the public service and posted to Kabale as an assistant district commissioner.
In 1963, he was one of the very first administrative officers to be appointed into the Uganda Foreign Service. This was after a short training attachment to the New Zealand Government.
In 1965, he was posted to Moscow to open the Uganda Embassy there. In August of that year, he married Frida Kasse who was a Foreign Service officer. Today, Frida Kasse is the Woman Member of Parliament for Masaka district.
Later in July of the same year, he was posted to Bonn, the capital city of the then West Germany where he served as First Secretary for two years before he returned home to work with the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC).
In 1970, he returned to the Foreign Service and was posted to the Uganda High Commission in New Delhi, India.
Later on in 1973, he was posted to the UN Permanent Mission in New York. It was during his posting there that he specialized in as Uganda’s representative in the UN conference on the Law of the Sea. Subsequently, he was given an appointment in the UN Secretariat.
During the Presidency of Godfrey Binaisa, he was appointed Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the UN. He also served for a short period as Uganda’s ambassador to France.
He is survived by three children – two boys and a girl. In 2012, he was elected Chairman of the Uganda Foreign Service Association and was also chairman of the Senior Golfers Association of Uganda Golf Club.