10 Life lessons from Kagezi

Sunday April 5 2015

 

By Lydia Ainomugisha

1.Brilliance is not earned: Jane Frances Adobo, the head of anti-corruption department and deputy director public prosecution, had known Kagezi for 16 years and described her as an extremely intelligent person. She said the week before her demise, Kagezi was giving a submission on a defilement case but Adobo realised she did not have notes. “When I asked her where she was getting the submissions from she said she had memorised them but was only looking at a paper so as to appear serious,” she recalls.

2.Humanitarian: Kagezi may have been known for handling high profile cases, but Elem Ogwal, a deputy DPP, said she had a passion to see justice achieved especially on the downtrodden people and the girl-child. He says she came strong on cases involving trafficking of girls.

3.Goodwill: Baxter Bakibinga, a resident senior state attorney Masaka and vice president of Association of Uganda Prosecutors, says while working with Kagezi at Buganda Road, she was willing to teach others since most of their work is learnt through practising on the job. She would also help colleagues who were pursuing further studies to attain leave so that they can advance their career. Adobo is one of the beneficiaries of her mentorship.

4.Playful: Adobo says she and Kagezi would report to work by 7am and they first catch up. “We used to call it morning gossip; we used to laugh together, crack jokes and so on. If she knew you very well, you would have fun around her.”

5. Hardworking and committed: All the workmates we talked to articulated her hardworking personality. Kagezi would report to work by 7am and gave extra time to work if it necessitated.

6. Organisation: Bakibinga says Kagezi would never take substandard work. She would send it back for corrections. “Joan was meticulous so we would be sure to double cross-check our work before submitting it to her.”

7.Friendliness: Marion Aciro, a state attorney who worked with Kagezi says she loved her work and the people she worked with. “Kagezi would make time to find out how one is doing and people would run to her whenever they needed help.”

8.Honesty: Ogwal says whenever Kagezi was given an assignment, they were sure she would execute it and give it her best because she was honest. “Her integrity was so unassailable that nobody could influence her.”

9. Humility: Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo, on his Facebook page posted that, “... Kagezi is one of the kindest, humblest and brilliant prosecutors he knows. Also, the fact that a high profile government official like Kagezi always stopped in a local trading centre to buy fruits from a vendor is testimony enough to define her humble character.”

10.Resilience: Francis Kyagaba, her brother-in-law, says she would not backtrack on her decision. If she settled for anything, she stuck to it without any amount of intimidation. She is reported to have received some anonymous calls and people blew security lights at her home. However, she referred to them as cowards and refused to get more security.

Also, the fact that she was able to pick up her pieces after the husband’s death, move on and take care of her children cannot be ignored.

Some of the cases she handled
•The murder case involving former Arua Municipality MP Akbar Hussein Godi whose wife was killed.
•The murder case in which Aggrey Kiyingi’s wife Robinah was killed.
•The murder case involving Thomas Nkulungira, whose girlfriend was killed.
•A case involving former LRA warlord Thomas Kwoyelo.
•The Muslim clerics’ murder case.
•She died while prosecuting suspected al-Shabaab terror militants responsible for the death of 79 people in July 2010 while watching a World Cup final match.

FACT FILE

Joan Kagezi was born on July 14, 1967 at Luteete, Rakai District.
She attended Nsuube Primary School from 1973 to 1980 and later joined Mt St Mary’s Namagunga for her O and A-Levels.

She later joined Makerere University where she obtained a Bachelor of Laws in 1990.
She acquired a Diploma in Legal Practice in June 1992, was appointed a land officer in the Ministry of Lands and Housing in the same year.

In May 1994, she was appointed state attorney.
In February, 2002, she was promoted to Principal State Attorney and later promoted to senior principal state attorney in August, 2007. She lost her husband in 2006.

In January 2015, she was assigned higher duties of Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions in the Department of International Crimes Division.

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