Public servants need to reflect on Kyemba’s career

27 Oct 2023


Senior legislators have expressed growing concerns about the increasing shortage of public servants with unwavering integrity, warning that this issue could have serious implications for Uganda’s future, potentially leading to conflicts in the country.

These concerns were raised as lawmakers paid tribute to the late Henry Kisadha Kisajja Magumba Kyemba, a civil servant and politician known for his impeccable public service career. Kyemba, 84, passed away at URO Care Hospital in Kampala on October 19, 2023, due to complications related to diabetes.

He held several key positions during his distinguished career, serving as the Principal Private Secretary to former Presidents Milton Obote and Idi Amin from 1962 to 1971 and 1971 to 1973, respectively. He also served as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Community Development from 1974 to 1975 and as the Minister for Health from 1975 to 1977.

Additionally, Kyemba served as the State Minister for Animal Industry and Fisheries during the early years of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s government. Dr. James Nsaba Buturo, the representative of Bufumbira East Constituency, who collaborated closely with the late Kyemba during the Constituent Assembly in 1994, emphasized Kyemba’s patriotic and high-integrity life.

However, he noted that these qualities are currently lacking among public servants, posing a risk to the country’s future.

Prof. Elijah Dickens Mushemeza, legislator for Sheema South Constituency, who interacted with Kyemba as a Constituent Assembly delegate, highlighted Kyemba’s respect for authority and trustworthiness. These attributes enabled Kyemba to serve in key positions during the Amin, Obote, and Museveni regimes.

Cecilia Atim Ogwal, a former Constituent Assembly delegate and now the Dokolo District Woman Representative, described Kyemba as truthful and tolerant of people with diverse political affiliations. She contrasted this with present-day politicians who often thrive on dividing the masses.

Naome Kabasharira, a former CA delegate and legislator for Rushenyi County, recalled Kyemba as a Rotarian and diplomat with exceptional etiquette. He introduced her to Rotary clubs, emphasizing service to mankind across Uganda and the East African Community bloc.

Kyemba was a dedicated member of the Rotary International movement, becoming a Rotarian in 1987 as a Charter Member of the Source of the Nile Rotary Club, now located in Jinja City. Under his influence, the Rotary Movement expanded in Uganda to include approximately 400 clubs as of 2023. Uganda is now part of District 9213, which includes Tanzania.

At the time of his passing, Kyemba held the position of Past District Governor (PDG) in Rotary International District 9200, covering Uganda, Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. The District Governor is the highest-ranking office in the Rotary International Movement at the district level, second only to the President of Rotary International, who leads the global movement.

First Deputy Prime Minister Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga moved a motion in the House to pay tribute to the deceased during a special sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa on Tuesday. President Museveni granted Kyemba a state funeral following his demise. Kyemba received his early education at local primary schools and later attended Busoga College Mwiri for his Cambridge School Certificate (1951–1956).

He pursued higher education at Makerere University from 1957 to 1962, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in History. Kyemba also held a master’s degree in history from Northwestern University in Evanston, US, and a Certificate in African studies from the same university.

He additionally earned an Honours degree in history from London University. Kyemba will be laid to rest at his ancestral home in Jinja District later today, October 26, 2023.

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