Sunday,September 27,2020 14:58 PM

Busoga’s engineering icon signs off

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd June 2008 03:00 AM

ON May 25, death claimed the life of Prince Eng. Alfred Luba. Luba, who was a civil engineer, served the country in different positions. Information minister Kirunda Kivejinja, described Luba as one of Uganda’s best engineering brains.

ON May 25, death claimed the life of Prince Eng. Alfred Luba. Luba, who was a civil engineer, served the country in different positions. Information minister Kirunda Kivejinja, described Luba as one of Uganda’s best engineering brains.

By Isaac Mufumba

ON May 25, death claimed the life of Prince Eng. Alfred Luba. Luba, who was a civil engineer, served the country in different positions. Information minister Kirunda Kivejinja, described Luba as one of Uganda’s best engineering brains.

Kivejinja says Luba was an inspiration to Ugandan youth of the late 1950s. We all (the youth) wanted to pursue careers in science to be like him.

One-time works minister during the Amin regime, Eng. James Nyonyintono Zikusooka, described Luba as one who represented the best of the engineering profession Uganda shall ever produce.

“He was a great contemporary, and he produced the best there ever was in the civil engineering field. He was an engineer of roads, buildings, bridges and railways.

He was also a town planner, a city planner and landscape designer. Not many Ugandans have performed beyond his level,” said Zikusooka.

President Museveni’s envoy to Somalia, Ngoma Ngime, said: “I wanted to be a scientist like him and at A’Level, I moved from Namasagali College to Busoga College, Mwiri, if only to be near Luba’s home in Wairaka and pursue Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, with the hope of becoming an engineer.”

The eulogies tell a story of the life of a role model and excellent performer, but where did this story begin?

According to Luba’s nephew, John Balwigaire, it began on September 12, 1928 in Nabitende, Kigulu County, Iganga District, when he was born to the late Mr. and Mrs. Waiswa.

Between 1936 and 1939, Luba attended Namilyango Junior School before joining Busoga College, Mwiri in 1940. He did his Cambridge School Certificate in 1947.

In 1948, Luba joined the Public Works Department Engineering School, Nakawa and graduated in 1952 with a certificate in civil engineering.

He was employed by the colonial government and posted to Jinja where he participated in the construction of the Owen Falls Dam.

The exceptional abilities he demonstrated during the time saw him rewarded with a scholarship to the Heriot-Watt University in Scotland in 1955 from where he graduated with a degree in Engineering in 1959.

However, prior to his graduation, he had to undergo a three-month training course that saw him return to Jinja. It was during this time that he met and fell in love with the late Jessica Katamba.

On his return to Scotland, he was joined by Jessica, but the two only wedded after she had completed a three-year nursing course. The couple returned to Uganda in 1962.

In 1962 and 1963, Luba served as an executive engineer in the works ministry.
In 1964, he was appointed the deputy city engineer of Kampala. The same year, he became the first Ugandan engineer of Kampala City.

In 1973, Luba and his three brothers formed Marathon Engineering Company. The company’s biggest project was the construction of the Kinyara Sugar Works’ factory in Masindi.

However, because of the economic hardships of the late 1970s, the company was dissolved in 1979 and Luba returned to government service.
He worked as chief engineer with the Ministry of Local Government until 1981.

It was also during this time that his wife died in a motor accident, leaving him with seven daughters and two sons.
In 1982, Luba returned to work and served as the general manager of National Housing and Construction Company until 1985.

In the late 1980s, Luba remarried, taking the hand of Ruth who works with the President’s Office. The union brought them two children, a boy and a girl. In the early 1990s, Luba went into consultancy work.

His legacy
Luba leaves a legacy in the form of physical infrastructure that will be used for decades. Some of the projects for which he was in charge of either design or construction include the Greater Kampala Master Plan, Nile Avenue, Bugolobi Sewage Treatment Plant, Kampala’s Main Sewer and Storm Water Systems, the White Hall for Kampala City Council and the Nsambya-Ggaba Road.

For that contribution, Buganda Katikkiro, Eng. J. B. Walusimbi wrote, “We pay tribute to the late Luba for his great contribution to the engineering profession and commend his services to Kampala City Council during his term as city engineer.”

Luba was recognised by all British institutions of civil engineering excellence such as the Institution of Chartered Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Institution of Municipal Engineers and the Institution of Highway Engineers. He was a Fellow in all.

Family life
Luba’s 11 children described him as a loving and dotting father and friend who encouraged and took pride in their accomplishments.

They also describe him as a compassionate hardworking man and a father who “lavished us with love and affection and made sure we wanted for nothing”.

The chairman of the executive committee of Kampala Association for Busoga Development, Eng. Patrick Batumbya, described Luba as a humble and unassuming character.

The two first met in 1981 at Christ’s Cathedral, Bugembe where Luba was in charge of reconstruction work.
“Instead of being content with the supervisory role, Luba rolled up his sleeves and started working,” Batumbya says.

That is the story of a public servant who lived a simple, but self satisfying life while at the same time working to the highest standards of quality and accountability.

In his epitaph to the fallen Caesar in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony says: “...The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Caesar...”

That will, however, not be the case with Engineer Alfred Luba. The good that he did will live long after him.

When we still urgently needed your wise counsel and your experienced outlook, you were suddenly taken away from us. You left us helplessly bereft and deeply sad for losing one so exemplary and inspiring.

I eulogise you on behalf of many who grew up at the apex of your professional and social development and were beneficiaries, at various points, of your illustrious stature.

For us as pupils and students at Mwiri Primary School and Busoga College, Mwiri in the 1970s and 1980s, where you were a celebrated alumnus, it was an honour to learn in the neighbourhood of your home in Wairaka.

At regular points, you visited your children at these schools or passed around on other business. Every time, it was a special occasion for us, to experience your fatherly magnanimity and get inspired to excel in our studies.

We shall always remember when you took off time to teach some mathematics to one of the P7 streams in 1978 and no wonder we performed best in the country that year. Not with such a great teacher to help us along!

You taught us the value of family, the strength of academic and professional collegiality and the love of country and community.

We shall always remember to emulate your example and to sustain your legacy. We feel poorer and heavily deprived, now that you are gone. In fact, you have left a gap that we cannot fill, however much we try.

The best we can do is to reflect on your life and to remember the advice you gave us at various points along the way.

However deeply we are wounded, we shall find solace in our faith in the everlasting Father who, we believe, called you into a better place and relieved you of all pain forever.

We thank Him for a life so richly lived and for the good that came out of it. We pray for grace and strength to encourage your family this side of life and to seek to follow in the footsteps of excellence, service and care with even stronger commitment and zeal.

May you find eternal rest in God’s sanctuary, till we meet again on that day.

On behalf of Mwiri Primary School and Busoga College, Mwiri alumni and Busoga Yaife membership.

Eng.Charles G.Mbalyohere,
Frankfurt, Germany

Busoga’s engineering icon signs off

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