Thursday January 23 2014

The agriculturalist turned politician passes on

Anthony William Kanyike

Anthony William Kanyike 


It was early on Saturday morning that news of the death of a prominent agriculturalist and NRM politician, former MP and Constituency Assembly (CA) delegate, Anthony William Kanyike filtered through. The news made rounds on social media on Saturday after one of his sons, Allan Kanyike posted on his facebook page how he was devastated about losing his father at Kadic Hospital at 8.30am.

Allan, who was with his father during his last days says he got an infection on his left leg that eventually led to his death.
He narrates that his father developed a small swelling on his leg and was rushed to hospital.

“The doctors in Nsambya said it was an infection that required immediate amputation because it was spreading to other parts of the body very fast. He resisted the doctors’ recommendation and preferred to be taken back home,” he says.
When the situation deteriorated, he was rushed to Kadic Hospital on Thursday where the family signed for his amputation.

“The process was successful but he lost his breath two times before he died. He has been a great dad and a true nationalist who served his country diligently. We will surely miss him,” Allan said. Kanyike had previously suffered heart-related problem

“A man of the people”
The ex-legislator was a leading commercial agriculturalist in Buikwe County West constituency who was hailed by many as a “man of the people”. His aspiration was to ensure that people’s livelihoods were improved through farming.

To fulfill this dream, Kanyike constantly taught the people of Buikwe modern farming practices, and he also gave them free agricultural supplies. “He used to take people to Bukalasa and Ntawo Agricultural Institutes for training to expose them to modern farming techniques. He gave out banana suckers, maize and cassava seedlings to the farmers,” Ssali Baker, the current MP.

Because of his rich agricultural background, he was in the Sixth Parliament appointed twice to chair the Parliamentary committee on Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.
His popularity soared during the Sixth Parliament, when he headed a select committee that probed the misappropriation of billions meant for the valley dams’ project in western Uganda in 1999. The money was meant for the construction of 15 valley dams in the western region.

It was at this point that he conflicted with then Minister of Agriculture, Dr Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe, who was implicated by the agriculture committee in a case of bungling a multi-billion shilling valley dam project intended to bring water security to Uganda’s cattle corridor. The MPs then threatened to censure Dr Wandira. This clash with the former Vice President, however, did not stand in Kanyike’s way of pushing for reforms in the agricultural sector.

Kanyike is spoken of as being one of the few clear headed delegates who was focused and determined to deliver on national issues, an ardent supporter of Buganda Kingdom and a results oriented person who delivered for his constituents, during his CA days.

“He loved Buganda Kingdom and since government did not grant Buganda a federo status, he was among the supporters of decentralisation as a compromise for Buganda. He also made good contributions to debates during CA and he will truly be missed,” said Musisi Kiwanuka, the former CA delegate for Buikwe County South, adding, “He had an assertive character and was so aggressive to the extent that he would be misunderstood. Those that did not understand him took offence.”

Ms Peggy Kiggundu, who has been friends with the late for the last 18 years spoke of him as a principled person and a good mobiliser of the ruling NRM party.
“I have known him as man who never backtracked on his word. He could not easily be changed and he was a hard worker,’’ she said.
As a strong NRM mobiliser, Kanyike campaigned for President Museveni in all the presidential elections.

“He was the chairperson of the NRM Eastern region team that campaigned for President Museveni in 2001 and he executed this task wholeheartedly. He popularised the NRM in Buikwe District and the greater Mukono,” Kiggundu says of the deceased, adding that although he had his personal enterprises which he put a lot of time in, he was still an influential leader, a prayerful person and advisor.

Giving back to the community was one of his attributes. He constructed a health facility in Busabaga, his home village and made generous contributions in each sub county, and in schools and churches.

Onyango Kakoba, the MP for Buikwe South remembers him as one who fought hard to push for the creation of Buikwe District, and even though he never returned to Parliament after he lost in 2006, he still advocated for a new district. He wanted it named Bukunja.

His political ambitions were frustrated in 2006 when he lost his seat to MP Norman Muwulize.
He remained active in local politics and once contested for the position of NRM chairperson of Buikwe but lost to Mayanja Njuki. He, however, remained a staunch supporter of the NRM. He also previously worked with Total Uganda, the Sugar Corporation Uganda Limited (SCOUL), Mitchell Courts and Mehta Group of Companies.

Kanyike is survived by his wife Robinah Perusio Abooki Kanyike and children some of whom are abroad.