A tribute to Dr Simon Kagugube, a trailblazer and maverick executive

Sunday June 28 2020
rev001 pix

Dr Simon Kagugube loved the microphone, at any opportunity.

If you wanted to have insightful conversations and a merry great time, you sought the company of Simon Kagugube Muwanga Seguya (known simply as “Simon Kagugube”), an accomplished corporate executive, a great listener and very brilliant but down to earth man who entered eternal life on Saturday, February 15, 2020.
Simon was born on January 7, 1956, at Albert Cook Hospital Mengo, Kampala, and died on 15th February 2020, aged 64. He is survived by 10 children and their respective mothers.
I first met Dr Simon Kagugube, then acting Managing Director, Centenary Bank, in 2009 at his office on Entebbe Road just opposite Metropole House, for a one-on-one interview about “The Future of Banking”, an article that appeared in the Summit Business Magazine, August 2009 edition.

rev001 v

Dr Simon Kagugube (L), with friends - Paul Musoke (Second left), Dr Kasekende (Second right), and Ms Harriet Musoke (right) in 1997 at a party.

Dr Kagugube’s lasting impact was his contribution to the banking sector. At the time of his passing, he was the Executive Director of Centenary Bank where he played a key role in the bank’s transformation for many years. Through the bank, he contributed to the overall growth of the financial sector in Uganda as well as to financial inclusion. Earlier, he had held senior management roles at URA where he contributed to the economy as a whole through effective local resources mobilisation and tax administration.

Dr Kagugube attended Namilyango Junior Primary School from 1963 and joined St. Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK) for his Ordinary level and Advanced level education. He was admitted to Makerere University (MAK) to study law (Bachelor of Laws (LL. B) graduating in October 1979. In November 1980, he attained the Diploma in Legal Practice and was retained at Makerere as a part-time Teaching Assistant.
In July 1984, he won a scholarship to study a Master of Laws degree and later, a Ph.D. at Yale University Law School.
In 1995, he enrolled at the University of BATH, United Kingdom, for a Certificate in Public Finance after successfully attaining a Commonwealth Tax Inspectorate certificate from Inland Revenue Training Centre, Leeds, UK.

rev01 iv

Graduating at Yale University.

Key career highlights
Dr. Kagugube joined Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) in October 1995 as Deputy Commissioner, Internal Revenue Department, and was promoted to Commissioner for Value Added Tax Department in July 1997. In February 2000, he was appointed Deputy Commissioner General, a role he declined, to join PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) from July 2000 as Director Tax and Legal Services.
In 2003, he was given an opportunity by the leaders of the Episcopal Conference, representatives of the Catholic Church of Uganda, and Centenary Bank's major shareholders to join the bank given his experience, an offer he accepted with both hands, and would later become the highlight of his career.
Dr. Kagugube was a regular in so many corporate boardrooms in his illustrious career. At the time of his passing, he was Director, Centenary Bank Ltd, Director, Nation Media Group, Chairman, Monitor Publications Ltd, Director, Meridian Airlines and Chairman Board of Directors, Uganda Revenue Authority.

rev001 pixxx

Smack Chess Club, with Simon Kagugube standing, pocketing

A family and social man
Dr Kagugube is survived by 10 children – Samantha, Susana, William, Sean, Solome, Chiara, Francesco, Sanyu, Mulungi, and Malaika and an extended family of relatives, friends and many people across all walks of life whom he supported both directly and indirectly given his position as a top executive at several private and public companies in Uganda and the region at large.
He met Eve Kagugube while teaching part-time at Makerere University (MAK) in the early 1980s and got blessed with their firstborn, Samantha, followed by Susana. When he got the opportunity to study law at Yale University, he traveled with his family, and while there got blessed with two children, William and Sean. However, he returned to Uganda alone in the early 1990s as the wife stayed behind in the US. It is during that time he met miss Jennifer Bitarabeho, whom he had studied with at the MAK law school in 1976, and started a relationship that was blessed with one child, Solome. Later in 1998, at a Uganda Revenue Authority social sports function, he met Allen Nagawa and moved on with a new relationship that was blessed with five children - Chiara, Francesco, Sanyu, and Mulungi and Malaika.
Dr Kagugube was a jolly good fellow with a gift of many great friends. Some of his close friends and confidants included Francis Kamulegeya, Eng Lubowa and Paul Musoke, Peter Ssebanakitta, Dr Kasekende, and Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile. Most of his friends were members of the Old Boys’ Association for St. Mary’s Kisubi (SMACK), classes of the 1970s.

rev001 pixx

With his children 10 and grandchildren

He played key roles at his Church, St. Charles Lwanga, Ntinda. He was an elder at the Church and supported many projects.
One of the late Dr Kagugube’s siblings is Andrew Seguya, his junior brother, with whom he grew up. Here are a few of the memories from Andrew.
“My brother loved music. He used to say, ‘… work hard, and play hard’. His interest in music started way back at St. Mary’s Kisubi”.
“Simon was third in a big family, with two brothers and seven sisters, now remaining.”
“He had a special skill of doing things which many other people didn’t find easy. He often reminded me, ‘…. easy things make me bored’.”

His death
In the early hours of Saturday, February 1, 2020, Dr Kagugube felt discomfort and pain in the chest and he went to his usual clinic from where he was referred to Nakasero Hospital for further investigation and management. He was then sent to The Uganda Heart Institute. It was found that he had suffered a heart attack when the remaining functional artery had been blocked.
A stent was inserted to unblock the artery and a pacemaker was inserted. It was 14 days from the onset of the heart attack until Saturday, February 15, 2020, at 2pm, when he passed on to glory.
May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace.