Friday December 29 2017

Lubowa: Icon of Uganda’s independence

Lubowa (Left) chart with former Buganda

Lubowa (Left) chart with former Buganda Katikiiro Dan Muliika during a previous function. File photo.  

By Othman Semakula

“His power bases were his pleasant personality and his oratorical skills, which earned him the title of natural crowd puller,” Joseph Jolly Joe Kiwanuka, a renowned sports enthusiast, wrote about Aloysius Darlington Lubowa, who died on December 7.
A.D. Lubowa, as he was popularly known, died at his son’s home in Namugongo, Mbalwa after a long illness. He was 90 years old.

Lubowa, a key figure in the Buganda Kingdom was an accomplished journalist whose eye for detail caught the attention of Ssekabaka Edward Mutesa II before inviting him to serve in the Buganda Kingdom in the early 60s up to the time cultural institutions were abolished after the 1966 Crisis.

His contribution to Buganda and Uganda as a whole was more visible during the 1961 Lancaster Conference that negotiated and fostered Uganda’s October 9, 1962 independence.
Lubowa, together with former Katikkiro (premier) Michael Kintu, AK Sempa, LN Basudde, Dr EMK Muwazi, Emmanuel Lumu, and Andrew Fredrick Mpanga, formed the bulk of the Buganda delegation that represented the kingdom during the negotiations.

Other delegates were drawn from other cultural institutions, districts, the Uganda government and political parties including Democratic Party and Uganda Peoples’ Congress.
The British government was represented by the secretary of state for the colonies, Ian Macleod and the parliamentary under-secretary of state of colonies, Hugh Fraser, among others.

Through the years, even after the abolition of cultural institutions, Lubowa, a retired journalist, maintained close contact with the Buganda Kingdom and after the restoration of cultural institutions in the early 90s he was, under the reign of Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, appointed speaker of Buganda Lukiiko and later minister without portfolio in former Katikkiro Joseph Mulwanyammuli Ssemwogerere’s office.

Lubowa’s story is well told by Jenkins Kiwanuka, a retired foreign service officer and a journalist, who describes him as one of “Uganda’s most intelligent and well-dressed editors of his time”.
Kiwanuka met Lubowa at Uganda Eyogera, a newspaper that was first published as a weekly in August 1980, according to archives at the Library of Congress.

In his memoirs - Son of a rat catcher – which were published in 2014, Kiwanuka describes Lubowa as a fine typist whose “output far exceeded that of many trained shorthand typists”.
“I joined Uganda Eyogera after a correspondence course in Journalism. AD [Lubowa] subsequently became my teacher of practical journalism and a lifetime friend,” Kiwanuka wrote in a tribute that was published in Daily Monitor on December 8.
During a requiem mass at Rubaga Cathedral on December 15, the Kattikiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga spoke of Lubowa as a man whose institutional memory helped to re-establish Buganda Kingdom after it was restored in 1993.

“Having served as minister in the Kabaka’s government [and kept close to the kingdom for a long time] … AD [Lubowa] significantly contributed to the re-enactment of Lukiiko procedure and regularly advised on running kingdom affairs,” he said.
The fourth of 13 children, Lubowa was born on June 08, 1927 to the late Leontio and Lucia Ntaate of Bikira in Buddu in the current Masaka District.

His father was a local catechist in Bikira parish, Masaka Diocese.
He attended Bukalasa Minor Seminary and Bikira Teacher Training College, before joining journalism, first as an editor for Matalisi and later as a co-founder of Uganda Eyogera.
Until his death, he was one of the two surviving members of the Buganda delegation that negotiated Uganda’s independence with the other being EBS Lumu, who is currently estimated to be more than 100 years old.

Staunch Catholic
According to Kiwanuka, Lubowa was a staunch Catholic and an active member of Christ the King choir, who also served on the central organising committee of Kampala Archdiocese. He also served as the chairperson of Nsambya Football Club, one of Uganda’s oldest football clubs.

He was married to Bernadette Nassuuna, who died in 1999. Together they had 11 children three of which died.
He also briefly served as a provincial commissioner in 1979 before the system was hurriedly scrapped after the overthrow of Idi Amin.
In his tribute, Kiwanuka said Lubowa’s intelligence and “highly organised mind” propelled him from an ordinary journalist to ministerial appointments in the Kabaka’s government, first as a minister of local government and later as minister of justice in the 1960s.