Commentary

Senteza Kajubi was a strong pillar of the Democratic Party

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By Kavuma-Kaggwa

Posted  Monday, May 7  2012 at  00:00
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This country will forever cherish Prof. William Senteza Kajubi, one of the greatest sons of Africa, who passed away last week. Prof. Kajubi was a great educationist—a renowned professor of geography, a reformer, a democrat, a freedom fighter and above all, he was one of the strongest pillars of the Democratic Party right from 1958.

I knew and worked with Kajubi, especially in DP and during our struggle to rid this country of the tyrannical regimes. I first met Kajubi in 1957 in Katwe (which was the centre of all political activities and commercial centre) when I was a news reporter with a Luganda newspaper– Uganda Eyogera-- which was edited by Omutaka A.D Lubowa. He used to come to Uganda Eyogera, together with his family, to meet Mr Lubowa as well as his sister-in-law, the beautiful Princess Juliet Kagere.

I greatly admired Kajubi because he was “a man of the people”, extremely brilliant, never arrogant and had a remarkable political acumen. When Ben Kiwanuka took over the leadership of DP in 1958, Kajubi joined him and the two men transformed DP into a party of all religions and all tribes. The two, one Catholic and the other Protestant, were always thinking on the same wave length as far as DP was concerned.

I joined DP in 1960 after the split of Uganda National Congress and as a journalist, I was very close to Ben Kiwanuka, especially during the time of registering voters in preparation for the first 1961 general elections before the formation of the internal self government in March, 1961. Kajubi was very instrumental in the formation of the first DP government which included the late Balam Mukasa, Stanley Bemba and John Sonko.

In 1962 when he was chairman of the committee which designed the national emblem and the national anthem, he, together with Ben Kiwanuka (who was still Prime Minister), accepted the proposal from the then Kabaka of Buganda Sekabaka Sir Edward Mutesa II who proposed that the Buganda emblem--the shield and spears (Amafumu n’Engabo)-- should be turned into the Uganda national emblem but without the lion at the bottom.

The lion was removed and River Nile, the coffee crop and the cotton crop were put in its place at the bottom. The drum in the middle is the Buganda drum (Mujaguzo). Dr Milton Obote, who was leader of Uganda Peoples Congress, however, proposed that the Uganda Kob and the beautiful Crested Crane should be on the national emblem . That is why the national emblem has all those beautiful features.

In April 1980 when former President Godfrey Binaisa ordered the restoration of political parties in Uganda, Kajubi was very instrumental in organising the first DP conference at Rubaga Social Centre where Paul Semwogerere was elected to replace Ben Kiwanuka as leader of DP.

Prof. YK Lule, who was leaving in Nairobi and who had been elected chairman of the DP Nairobi Branch, sent me to represent him in this meeting. I joined Kajubi and Paul Kavuma, former Katikkiro of Buganda. In this meeting, Kavuma appealed to Baganda to join DP. This strategy worked because DP won all the seats in Buganda except in Mityana where Mzee Samwiri Mugwisa of UPC was elected.

Following the return of Obote from Tanzania on May 17, 1980, we worked out a plan to bring back Lule to Kampala from Nairobi on June 16, 1980. Kajubi was the chairman of the Return Lule Committee; I was the secretary and the late Dr Sulaiman Kiggundu and Alphonce Ntale were members of the committee.
Kajubi mobilised thousands of Ugandans to welcome Lule but Paul Muwanga who was the chairman of the then ruling Military Commission did not allow Lule to come back. Our strategy was to have Lule in Uganda to contest for the presidency on the ticket of DP in the 1980 general elections because he was the most popular candidate we had at that time.

Kajubi was part of the “secret think tank” which was advising the late Paul Kavuma, Prince Badru Kakungulu and Bishop Mukasa (formerly of Mityana) who formed and financed the first fighting group which co-operated with Yoweri Museveni to wage war against Obote in the Luweero Triangle.

That was the group which advised Mr Museveni to travel to Nairobi in July 1981 and negotiate with Lule to form one strong army, and NRM/NRA was formed with Lule as its chairman and Museveni as his deputy. Kajubi, indeed, played a great role in the politics of Uganda. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Kavuma-Kaggwa is an elder from Kyaggwe, Mukono District. 0772 584423