Dr. Abel Rwendeire, the vice chairperson of the National Planning Authority (NPA) who passed away on Thursday morning will be laid to rest on Sunday.
Rwendeire was pronounced dead in the morning as he was being rushed to Nakasero Hospital in Kampala after his health condition suddenly deteriorated overnight.
According to the burial programme released by NPA on Thursday, a requiem mass will be held for the late at the Catholic Matyrs Shrine, Namugongo on Friday at 3pm.
A memorial service will be held at Kubuzigye Secondary School in Kabale district at midday on Sunday before Rwendeire’s body its final resting place, Dr Kisamba Mugerwa, the NPA chairperson revealed.
Dr Rwendeire suffered a suspected heart attack and passed away on Thursday, a few days after he returned from a foreign trip.
Tributes from all over the world in from several government officials, organisations and individuals hailed the deceased as a humble, knowledgeable man.
“Very Sad news of the Passing on of Dr. Abel Rwendeire, former MP and Vice Chairperson of NPA. May his Soul RIP,” Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance said on twitter.
Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe stated: “I am very sad to hear about the death of Dr. Abel Rwendeire. Really it is very distressing. Dr. Abel Rwendeire has been chair to the University's visitation committee among his other commitments to serving our country. May God rest his soul in peace.”
The Rotary Club of Kampala North paid tribute to its member with a note: “We regret to inform the world of the untimely death of our own #AbelRwendeire who has been a special friend to the world.”
Major General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the Senior Presidential Adviser for Special Operations wrote: “Sad to hear about the passing of Dr. Abel Rwendeire. May his soul rest in peace.”
Who is Rwendeire?
Rwendeire held a Ph.D. in Biochemisrty obtained in 1985 from the University of Canterbury in New Zeland. He served as state minister for trade, higher education before moving to United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, (UNIDO).
He was key in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of innovations in industrial promotion and technology, agro-industries, small and medium enterprises, energy and cleaner production.
He joined NPA in July 2008 following his four-year tenure as a Managing Director (2002- 2006) at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, (UNIDO), in Vienna, Austria.
He recently chaired the Makerere University Visitation Committee, a nine-man team set up by President Yoweri Museveni to inquire into the affairs of the university last year.
Previously, Dr Rwendeire was a Member of Parliament representing the people of Rubanda County East constituency in Kabale District from 1996 to 2003.
The current Rubanda East MP, Henry Aliganyira said Rwendeire will be remembered in his constituency for championing education and human rights.
“He had a passion for education and fighting for justice for the downtrodden,” Aliganyira said. He described the deceased as a man of calm personality.
“Even with all the success he had, he remained down-to-earth. He supported me when I chose to stand for MP. I have been friends with him and I will dearly miss him,” Aliganyira stated.
He served as a minister of state (1996-1998 and 2000-2001) for tourism, trade and industry and later minister of state for higher education in the ministry of education and sports from 1998 to 2000.
He is credited for his role in laying the foundation for the establishment of Uganda vocational qualifications framework through which the informal sector into the formal educational processes.
Before joining Politics, Dr Rwendeire was the Principal of Uganda Polytechnic Kyambogo (1992-1996), one of the two institutions that merged to form present-day Kyambogo University.
At NPA, he was one of the core brains behind the development strategies, owing to his blend of diverse academic, political, technical and managerial skills.
According to Kisamba, Rwendeire has been the brains behind the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) country reports and had just overseen preparation for the latest report due to be unveiled.
Recalling his last moments with the deceased, Kisamba said his colleague showed up at office on Wednesday looking cheerful.
“He greeted everybody with a smile and picked some files. Little did we know that we were seeing him for the last time. It’s sad that he is dead,” Kisamba disclosed.