Death of Kavuma has robbed country of useful father figure

Monday August 5 2019

Peter Mulira

Peter Mulira 

By Peter Mulira

Owek Godfrey Kaaya Kavuma, who passed away on Saturday, July 27, lived an illustrious life as a businessman, a dedicated servant of Buganda Kingdom, a loving family man and a true Ugandan. From humble beginnings in Kibooba village, Namutamba District, Kavuma later rose to enjoy the company of the high and mighty in Britain’s society where he sent his children to public schools in the 1980s. In Buganda, Kavuma became deputy Katikkiro (Buganda premier) and a close friend of the Kabaka as well as his trusted adviser, roles in Buganda few can enjoy in their lifetime.
Born to Yosamu Musoke and Mukyala Bakyeera from the house of a prominent Mamba Clan leader, young Kavuma attended Mengo Secondary School before joining Busoga College Mwiri, where he made many life-long friends, including Paul Etyang, Dr Ignatius James Batwala, Prof George Kirya and many others.
A jester and teaser himself, Kavuma’s surjourn at Mwiri made him the butt of many jokes of friends from a rival school, but the most memorable is the joke by the late Rev Sylvestor Kaddu, who wrote in a newspaper article that “In his early days young Godfrey Kavuma crossed River Nile in a mistaken search for education.”
From Mwiri, Kavuma joined Makerere University and upon graduation, joined Coffee Marketing Board in the marketing department. Always enterprising and innovative, Kavuma was quickly sent to London as the board’s marketing representative. He was relocated to New York later, but was forced to resign following the military coup. After his resignation, Kavuma joined J. H. Rayner (Mincing Lane) Ltd, a leading coffee trader in the City of London. The company posted him to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as its branch manager before relocating him to Nairobi from where he retired and returned to Uganda after NRM came to power in 1986.
On his return to Uganda, Kavuma toyed for a while with the idea of joining politics, but changed his mind and instead went to serve the fledgling Buganda Kingdom in its early stages of restoration. Kavuma joined the then Sabataka Council before becoming the assistant treasurer when the kingdom was reinstated. Later he was appointed deputy Katikkiro and minister in charge of land, in which capacity he took charge of Buganda Land Board.
Perhaps Kavuma’s greatest contribution to the kingdom was in founding and managing of Central Broadcasting Corporation, which did exceedingly well under his care over the years. Both in CBS and Buganda Land Board, Kavuma set up systems, which helped the two institutions to run smoothly. While serving at Mengo, Kavuma also set up a family coffee company and a successful distribution company which are doing very well. His son, Peter, left his lucrative job in New York and came to help his father run the family businesses. His company Busiro Coffee Company Ltd, did a lot in reviving the coffee industry in the country.
Kavuma married Miriam, a daughter of Dr S. B. Ndugwa, a prominent traditionalist, who became a close friend of his until his death some years ago. The couple was blessed with seven children although one died in childhood. Friends and family were heard praising Miriam for the way she nursed her husband during his illness and their close relationship will ensure continuation of the projects Kavuma started. Always dapper and erudite Kavuma moved about his work in his London Serville Row suits with a label tacked on the inside pocket of the coat emblazoned with the words “This suit was specially made for Mr Godfrey Kavuma.”
Indeed everything about Kavuma was special. With the passing of Godfrey Kaaya Kavuma the country has lost yet another useful father figure who could have made a great contribution to our development.