Former presidential candidate and pro-democracy icon Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere is dead.
Ssemogerere who has been unwell for a long time died at around 4am on Friday at his home in Rubaga Division in Kampala, according to his family. He was aged 90.
“But throughout the night, he was not stable until in the wee hours of Friday morning when he returned from the shower and collapsed on his bed. He was pronounced dead moments later,” former Masaka Municipality Member of Parliament told journalists at his brother’s home in Rubaga Division.
His body has been taken to Rubaga Hospital for postmortem. His burial will be in Nkumba in Busiro county on a date yet to be announced.
“He was virtually the head of our family and we all grew up in his hands. We have our ancestry in Ssesse island but his burial will be in Nkumba in Busiro county where we all grew up from,” added Mr John Baptist Kawanga.
Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago said he was devastated by Ssemogerere’s demise and described him as a true statesman who has been working hard to unite forces of change in Uganda.
“We learnt of his death early in the morning and we were devastated. I was with him on Monday this week and we were discussing a number of things with him, Dr Lulume Bayiga and others. He dedicated his life on uniting forces of change in this country. He was a strong man and has been pursuing unity. He had given us different assignments and I was supposed to meet him today to follow up on our engagement. It’s really sad that he has not lived to see the moment he worked so hard for. He’s been a true statesman and a godfather to many of us. He’s been our mentor. Since I cut my political teeth, I have been in his hands and he has always molded us. A week hardly passes without me and him having a chat about many things including the future of this country,” Mr Lukwago told journalists at Ssemogerere’s home on Friday.
Dr Kizza Besigye once referred to Mr Ssemogerere as Uganda’s “most senior political activist.” He served as the Democratic Party of Uganda’s leader for 25 years and was a significant figure in Ugandan politics until his retirement in 2005.
On February 11, he celebrated his 90th birthday. Ssemogerere was born on February 11, 1932, in the present-day Kalangala District.
In 1980 and 1996, Ssemo, as he was fondly known, ran for president. He left a profound legacy.
Ssemogerere’s exceptional service to Uganda and the Buganda Kingdom was recently honored by Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi with a peace award, (ejjinja ely’omuwendo).
REPORTED BY DAILY MONITOR