Uganda: Prof Apolo Nsibambi Laid to Rest

The remains of former prime minister Apolo Nsibambi was laid to rest yesterday beside those of his first wife Rhoda at Kasero-Buloba in Wakiso District amid a deafening 17-gun salute by the army’s Special Forces Group.

In his eulogy, Vice President Edward Ssekandi praised Nsibambi’s legacy, which he said were marked by frankness.

Nsibambi’s casket, draped with national and Buganda kingdom flags, arrived in a convoy led by his successor Dr Ruhakana Rugunda amid a heavy downpour.

The proceedings had to be stayed until the rain subsided at about 3.30pm when the national and Buganda anthems were played by both the military and Uganda police bands as flags at the venue were flown at half-mast.

The master of ceremonies, the state minister for works, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, then allowed only three speeches.

But it was heiress Rhoda Kasujja’s heartbreaking eulogy to a “friendly, loving daddy” that stirred an already emotional crowd, forcing many to break down into in tears.

“Thank you mourners for being around, thank you for all the encouragement during grief and saying wonderful things about our dear- loving father. Thank you all for coming along to witness the burial,” Ms Kasujja said.

To her fallen father, she said: “You are a great man, you loved God and we know you went to him. This is victory, I give glory to God.”

The widow, Ester said the death of her husband and love expressed by friends had re-energized her to stay in church and serve God.

“I thank God that he was my friend and I was his friend. We led a very happy life and I will miss him dearly. We will move along well with our children because he left us a saved family. I pray that darkness doesn’t come in our midst,” Ester said.

Exactly at 4:28pm, the casket was then moved and rolled into the grave.

A three-feet high fence was due to be extended from the point where Rhoda Nsibambi, his first wife, was laid to rest after she died on February 4, 2001.

There were suggestions from a section of mourners that the fence be decorated with a watch to remind the nation about a man who has left an unparalleled record of time-keeping. The family did not readily comment.

Preparations to ready Nsibambi’s grave kicked off on Saturday and was supervised by officials from Kasero Church of Uganda in Buloba where Nsibambi’s parents Simeon and Eva Bakaluba were also laid to rest.

The church land, measuring 88 acres, was donated by Nsibambi’s family which has since the 1970s strived to propagate the Anglican faith.

Queues of mourners who lined up to sign the condolence books since May 28, the overwhelming garlands at Namirembe Cathedral and the hundreds more who lined Kasero Church and clapped thankfully to see off the remains of Uganda’s eighth premier, left an indelible mark to show just how loved he was.

During the different funeral activities at his home, the Parliament, Makerere University, Namirembe Cathedral, and Kasero -Buloba Church, all reflected love and a collective heave of national emotion.

Nsibambi, a professor of political science, has been acclaimed in life as a man of perfection, high integrity and sophistication.

From his farm in Buloba to Makerere University where he lectured and headed departments, service to Church and government and his Bulange home village, the messages were uniform tribute to “Nsibambi, a near-perfect man.”

Makerere University Manager of Communication and International Relations and also a former MUASA chair, Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu, said in the days of Nsibambi, ring to the level of professor only came after a diligent long service of teaching in addition to publishing at least three or papers or a book.

“Therefore, his persistence and commitment to work, enabled him to become a professor, plus the fact that he had even excelled to the level of PhD,” Dr Kiggundu said.

Nsibambi’s contemporaries include Prof Mahmoud Mamdani, Prof Mondo Kagonyera, and Prof Opio Epelu.


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Publish date : 2019-06-05 07:53:37

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