Today in Parliament | 24TH OCTOBER 2023

This is an update from the Parliament of Uganda. Parliament today held a special sitting to honour the former minister, the late Hon. Henry Kyemba. This Sitting was chaired by the Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa. In his communication, Tayebwa described the deceased as a man who served his country with a high level of diligence and thanked him for taking off time to put down the history of Uganda of what was going on so that even future generations would be able to know where Uganda has come from. “This is a man who has served humanity in very many aspects as a Rotarian even at the time of his death, he was still volunteering in aspects where he was touching lives all over. Of course, as students of history who know the black history of this country, we know the critical role he played in exposing the evils of the regime of Idi Amin where he mobilized many people to end the brutality that was being meted out on Ugandans”. Tayebwa said.

The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs, Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga later moved a motion to honour the late Kyemba. which was seconded by the LOP, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga. Kadaga described the late Minister as a firm advocate and promoter of democracy, good governance, peace for all, and a champion of strengthening public administration. “Kyemba was a firm advocate and promoter of democracy, good governance, peace, rule of law, respect for human rights, access to justice for all and strengthening public administration, ideas he illustrated in his book “State of Blood”. Kadaga said. Kadaga also told MPs that  Kyemba was born on 8th December 1939 in Mayuge district and he succumbed to diabetes-related complications at URO Care Hospital in Kampala. 

The LOP, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga on his part defended the decision by the Opposition to call off their protest and return to Parliament following events of the past week, saying that although their presence today may seem a bit peculiar to some, there was a need to allow common sense to prevail to allow the Opposition to pay tribute to Kyemba. “We have the enormous task of portraying the essence of Kyemba, a statesman on one part and politician on the other, some people simply fall as politicians and the other part of them is a world chase. He generously offered time and space to whoever came to him with the thirst and good to learn. 

Yet in all this, he commanded a high and discerning sense of simplicity which endeared him to many”. Mpuuga said. Mpuuga added that although Kyemba served three different regimes, he lost his brother to one of the regimes he served, and called on those in the ruling Government to practice restraint while in power. “Despite having held positions of influence, Kyemba too knew adversity, as many Ugandans across time have. In 1977, he lost his brother at the hands of the regime he had served under. He faced personal insecurity and once took a bullet that was meant to assassinate the President. As a government protagonist in his book ‘A State of Blood’ and having served as a government protagonist in his own book, the late Minister is a testament that we have very many Kyembas waiting to happen soon, which is more reason we should tread carefully”. Mpuuga said

Debating the motion, Vice President, Hon. Alupo Jessica thanked President Museveni for according to the late, Hon. Kyemba an official burial. She also described him as a distinguished statesman. The 3rd Deputy PM, Rukia Nakadama told MPs that Hon. Kyemba was a peace-loving person. “In Mayuge, there is a huge piece of land belonging to them (Kyembas), and part of it is occupied by squatters but we have never heard of any scandal. He practiced mature politics”. Nakadama said.  Kagoma North MP, Hon. Brandon Kintu also urged Ugandans who want to make Kyemba happy by joining Busoga Kingdom at a royal dinner at Kololo on Friday, saying the region is pained by Kyemba’s demise as he won’t witness the November 2023 royal wedding. “Kyemba loved his kingdom so much he really fought so much to see that we recover and restore our Kingdom. It is very unfortunate that on 18th November 2023, we hoped that he would be with us to receive one of the finest women in Busoga, the Inebantu of Busoga which hasn’t happened. But for those of us to make Kyemba happy, please join us for the royal dinner at Kololo”. Hon.  Kintu said.  

Dokolo DWR Hon.Cecilia Ogwal on her part asked Ugandans not to blame Kyemba for taking up the job with Idi Amin, saying that by taking up that job, he saved so many people. She cited a scenario when security forces picked up her husband and it took the intervention of  Kyemba, who connected her directly to Idi Amin that her husband was saved. “Kyemba by taking up a job with Idi Amin, virtually saved very many lives. My husband was picked up because he was head of the youth, he was accused of recruiting youths to overthrow the Amin Govt. My husband was picked up from home and we knew that was the end of him, God gave me courage, so I picked up the phone and called Kyemba”. Hon. Cecilia Ogwal said. She further said  “And Kyemba allowed me to talk to the President, Idi Amin directly and I told Idi Amin, you have taken my husband and you have killed him, so Idi Amin said, when, how, and I said he had been taken and killed and he asked, have you seen the body? And he said give me time, I will find out. In the morning my husband was brought home”.

Rushenyi County MP Hon. Naome Kabasharira eulogised Kyemba as a neat and smart gentleman, while Hon. James Magode, the State Minister for EAC Affairs, said Kyemba has left a great mark, especially with his book “The State of Blood” which he said helped them to fight Idi Amin.  Bugweri County MP, Hon. Abdu Katuntu also noted that the late Kyemba had impeccable integrity and stood his ground for the good of the people even when serving presidents like Idi Amin. “Hon. Kyemba was soft-spoken; he was not a good orator but he was a communicator who was very knowledgeable. That is an encyclopedia lying in the coffin today”, Katuntu said. 

Furthermore, Bunya County Mp, Hon Iddi Isabirye called on legislators to declare a day for a public lecture in memory of Hon. Kyemba. “There are many lessons we can pick from what is being said about Hon Kyemba today. We can pick more if that day is declared”. said Hon. Isabirye. Tororo County North MP, Hon. Geofrey Ekanya on his part said there is a need to enact the National Cemetery Act such that great leaders like Hon. Kyemba are buried there.”We need to preserve these cemeteries so that years after these people are buried, they are remembered”. Ekanya said.

The House later adopted the motion to pay tribute to the late, Hon. Henry Kyemba. Kyemba, who was ” a man of many hats” has been described as an impeccable, flawless, and patriotic civil servant.

The Deputy Speaker afterward adjourned the House to tomorrow, Wednesday, 25 October 2023 at 2 p.m.

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