• Jul 05, 2021 . 3 min Read
  • Aggrey Awori is dead

Aggrey Awori is dead
Charles Etukuri
Senior Writer @New Vision

Aggrey Siryoyi Awori, the former ICT minister, has become the latest public figure to succumb to the Covid-19 Virus. 

Awori,82, died on Monday at around 2:00pm at TMR International Hospital where he was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit for over a week.

Awori’s daughter Christine Awori confirmed the death but declined to divulge further details of the burial plans.

The former outspoken opposition Member of Parliament for the Uganda People's Congress (UPC) political party represented Samia-Bugwe North, Busia District Parliament from 2001 until 2006. In 2007, he abandoned UPC and joined the ruling National Resistance Movement political party.

In July last year, Awori was nominated for the position of Secretary for Finance for older persons for Madibira B Village, Western Division in Busia Municipality as he launched his bid to represent the older persons in Parliament but failed.

A quick Wikipedia search shows that the former legislator was born on February 23, 1939, in Budimo Village, Busia District, near the Ugandan/Kenyan border as the 10th of 17 children. His parents were Canon Jeremiah Musungu Awori, a pioneer African priest of the Anglican Church in East Africa and Mariamu Odongo Awori, a nurse and community teacher.  Aggrey's siblings include the ninth Kenyan vice-president, Arthur Moody Awori, and Mary Okelo, the first woman in East Africa to head a Barclays Bank branch and the founder of Kenya's women only bank; the Kenya Women Finance Trust.

Mary is also the founder of Makini Schools, a leading school chain in East Africa. He owns an urban home in Busia Municipality and a country home in neighbouring Bugiri District.

Awori attended Nabumali High School in Mbale District and King's College Budo, in Wakiso District, both in Uganda.

While at Kings College Budo (1959 to 1961), Aggrey was selected among a few others for elite military officers training at Sandhurst Military College in the United Kingdom. His father Canon,however, rejected the idea of his talented son joining the military.

From 1961 to 1965, he studied at Harvard University on a scholarship. The first year he took nuclear physics, but then switched over to political economics.

While at Harvard, Aggrey became the first person in heptagonal track history to win three events - the long jump, high hurdles, and 60-yard dash, tying the heps record in the hurdles and setting the mark in the dash.

He also ran on the victorious mile relay team that tied the heptagonal record. By the time he graduated from Harvard, Awori held three outdoor and five indoor school records. He also represented Uganda in the 110 metres hurdles at the 1960 Summer Olympics and the 1964 Summer Olympics, but failed to win any medals.

In 1967, Awori was appointed the first local director of Uganda Television (UTV). In 1971 Awori was jailed for two months after President Idi Amin's coup, because during Amin's first coup attempt he didn't broadcast a speech Amin gave, lying to him by saying that they were live on air.

He went into political exile in Kenya, where he taught political journalism at the University of Nairobi until 1976 and then travelled around Africa visiting Tanzania, Liberia and Senegal and returning to Nairobi in 1979.

After Idi Amin was overthrown in 1979, Awori returned to Uganda. He ran for a seat in the National Assembly of Uganda, but lost. He then became Ambassador to the United States, until being transferred by Tito Okello Lutwa in 1985. He served as Uganda's Ambassador to Belgium from 1985 until 1987, when he was dropped by Yoweri Museveni.

After a brief asylum in Nairobi, Awori started to build up a rebel group operating from eastern Uganda named Force Obote Back Again (FOBA).

He stated that his reason for doing so was mainly anger at Museveni's National Resistance Army, which had confiscated his property. In 1992, he dissolved his rebel group and in 1993, Awori met with Museveni in New York and was elected to the Constituency Assembly that helped craft the 1995 Constitution and was also a member of parliament.

In 2001 Awori decided to contest for the countries Presidency and emerged third polling 1.41% of the vote.

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