First foreign affairs minister Sam Odaka is dead

Wednesday August 5 2015


Kampala. At 1:26am in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Uganda’s first Foreign Affairs minister Sam Odaka’s candle burnt out.
His death, draws the curtain on an illustrious life of 83 years filled with many firsts with glowing tributes already pouring in for a man credited for making Uganda the first African country to host the Pope.
Odaka, who served as Foreign Affairs minister in the Milton Obote I regime and later Planning and Economic Development minister in the second leg of the Obote administration, succumbed to kidney failure at International Hospital, Kampala.
Mr Chris Bwire, a younger brother of Odaka, told Daily Monitor yesterday, “he developed a lot of complications and got two cardiac arrests. He died of kidney failure and the dialysis machine could not save him. We are in grief as a family.”
As Foreign Affairs minister then, his government extended an invite to Pope Paul VI in 1969, thrusting Uganda to the global diplomatic eye as the first African country to host the world’s most influential religious leader.
He was also part of the country’s delegation in high level continental discourse in Addis Ababa in the build up to the formation of the Organisation for African Unity in 1963, the defunct umbrella of African states succeeded by the African Union.
Uganda Peoples Congress stalwart Yona Kanyomozi when contacted for a comment was crestfallen on learning of Odaka’s death before saluting his contribution.
“I served in Obote II government with him. He did a lot in the formative years of the nation to establish our foreign affairs credentials,” he said.