Wednesday,August 21,2019 08:39 AM

Ex-minister, diplomat John Kahiigwa dies

By Pascal Kwesiga

Added 22nd December 2016 02:07 PM

He participated in the 1979 Moshi conference organized by Ugandans in exile.

Uganda’s former minister and ambassador Joseph Kahiigwa has died aged 75.

He served in various capacities under President Milton Obote's  government, including as assistant minister for housing.

Kahiigwa, who joined politics while he was a student at Makerere University, however, later abandoned Obote and worked with the liberation forces opposed to the Amin and Obote II Governments between 1970s and 1980s.

He succumbed to hypertension and diabetes at Nakasero Hospital in Kampala on Wednesday.

He participated in the 1979 Moshi conference organized by Ugandans in exile, including Yoweri Museveni (now president) to plot the overthrow of President Idi Amin.

Under the current Government, Kahiigwa served as an ambassador to various countries, including Kenya, USA Libya and DR Congo.

He also played a pivotal role in activities leading to the restoration of the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom in 1994, holding the portfolio of foreign minister in the cultural institution later.

'A great man'

The kingdom announced Kahiigwa’s death in a December 21 statement and conveyed its condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.

“He (Kahiigwa) succumbed to diabetes and high blood pressure. He was 75 (years). Burial will be communicated later. He will be laid to rest in Kitamba village, Bwijanga sub county in Masindi district,” a statement from the kingdom reads.

The kingdom diaspora minister and secretary to cabinet, Philip Katahoire, said Kahiigwa was a humble and hardworking man.

“We have lost a great man who greatly worked for Bunyoro and the country at large. He linked Bunyoro to international networks and attracted investors to the Kingdom,” he stated.

The former foreign affairs permanent secretary, ambassador James Mugume, said the Kahiigwa was a charming, friendly and hardworking man.

“I got to know him during the time when he was an ambassador to Kenya in the 1980s. That is when Nairobi served as a transit point for many Ugandans, including ministers,” Mugume said.

“All flights would stop in Nairobi and then connect to other parts of the world. Nairobi was like Dubai today.”

He said Kahiigwa treated Ugandan government officials in a friendly and charming manner.

“If you are an ambassador in a country with an airport serving as a transit point, that comes with a lot of pressure, and if you are not a friendly person, you cannot handle the task and people will realize."



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