Jinja City and District leaders, stakeholders, residents, and other dignitaries converged at Jinja City Hall on Wednesday to commemorate the life and legacy of the late Henry Kyemba. Kyemba was described as a remarkable man who lived an extraordinary life and served in various government regimes. The city council held a special session to pay tribute to Kyemba’s significant contributions to Uganda and the world.
The 84-year-old Rotarian, who passed away from natural causes, served as the Principal Private Secretary to Uganda’s first Executive Prime Minister, Milton Obote. He also held the position of Health Minister during Amin’s regime and was elected as the Jinja West legislator in 1996. He contributed to various sectors as a civil servant during his illustrious career.
During a heartfelt ceremony at Jinja City Hall, several speakers shared their thoughts and praised Kyemba for his selfless life and his role as a mentor to those who sought his guidance. In honor of his service, Jinja City Council, presided over by Speaker Benard Mbayo, passed a motion to rename Radio Road after Henry Kyemba.
It’s worth noting that the government of Uganda accorded Kyemba an official send-off, with his burial scheduled for Thursday at Wanyama village in Bugembe, Jinja City. The Parliament, presided over by Deputy Speaker Tomasi Tayebwa, also paid tribute to Kyemba, who served as the Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries before taking on the role of Minister of State for the Presidency under President Yoweri Museveni.
Darius Nandinda, the Jinja Resident City Commissioner (RCC), acknowledged Busoga region for producing great leaders and highly educated individuals across the country. He emphasized the significant contributions of the region, highlighting that renowned judges, lawyers, doctors, and other important figures hail from Busoga.
Nandinda called for unity among Basoga, urging top leaders to bring together both ordinary and influential people in Busoga to foster development in the area. He encouraged educated and successful individuals from Busoga who are currently living elsewhere to return and invest in their homeland, providing opportunities for the local population.
The RCC, after praising the services of the deceased, expressed concerns about the behavior of current leaders. He noted that some leaders have prioritized arrogance, impunity, and corruption, which he believes have hindered the goals and achievements of the NRM government. He called for urgent action to address these practices and promote development.
Jinja City Mayor Peter Okocha Kasolo described Kyemba as a patriotic leader who was open-minded, even in the face of powerful superiors in government offices. Kasolo acknowledged Kyemba’s exceptional ability to work from Jinja while living in Kampala.
Georgina Tumusiime, the President of the Rotary Club of Source of the Nile, proposed the establishment of a museum in memory of Kyemba. She emphasized that a museum would be a fitting tribute to his substantial contributions to his country. Kyemba served Rotary for 34 years, promoting values of integrity, honesty, and love, and supporting projects aimed at empowering communities.
Kyemba retired from political offices to make way for new leaders. Meddy Mbentyo, a local Jinja political figure affiliated with the Forum for Democratic Change, encouraged Uganda’s leaders to mentor and nurture young people who represent the leaders of the future.