The return of Kabaka Muteesa's remains. PHOTO/FILE

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Ugandans who died on foreign land

What you need to know:

  • Looking back. The Jacob Oulanyah, the former Speaker of Parliament, died of cancer in Seattle, US.
  • His body was repatriated and burried on Friday in Omoro District. We look back at different dignitaries that passed on outside Uganda. 

The death of former Uganda parliament speaker Jacob Oulanyah recently in Seattle, US has  now added to the long list of Ugandans that departed from this world while in foreign countries. The long list includes prominent Ugandans of whom four were former presidents namely Sir Edward Muteesa II, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote, Idi Amin Dada and Prof. Yusuf Kironde Lule. Apart from the four who  passed on while in exile many other Ugandans residing, working or visiting foreign countries also met a similar fate.

Death is indeed so cruel. It can knock on anyone’s door at an unexpected time and without warning.  Not only does it visit the sick  in hospital intensive care units but even those that appear to be so healthy and enjoying a lot of “massape”.  Imagine some Ugandans such as Lt General Aronda Nyakairima and the Rev Fr Simon Peter Lokodo were on state duty abroad in Dubai and Switzerland respectively when Ugandans shockingly learnt of their untimely death. 

Elsewhere, who can forget the 33 Ugandans that were aboard a Uganda Airlines flight 775 that perished when it crashed while attempting to land at Fiumicino airport in Rome on October 17, 1988. The 33 were eagerly  waiting to return to their motherland only for death to appear from nowhere and snatch them. So sad that they instead landed at  Entebbe in coffins.

To many close family members and friends, it is indeed so painful losing a loved one thousands of miles away from home and  getting no opportunity to hear their last words on earth.This leaves many such bereaved relatives and friends back home imagining what the departed loved ones would have told them before passing on had they been around close to their death beds. 

Similarly haunted are those relatives and friends living abroad who unexpectedly lose loved ones back home in Uganda and are unable to return and attend their funerals.  Yours truly experienced such agony way back in 2003 while in Chicago, US.

I lost my mother the week US and its allies launched a fierce war against Iraq then, under Saddam Hussein whom they accused of possessing dangerous chemical weapons. Then terrorism fear gripped most western countries including US that grounded almost all its passenger planes. This meant that there was no way I could make it to Entebbe and later home to attend the funeral.

During mum’s last moments at Rubaga Hospital, she was at one time so eager to talk to me and tell me something she said was so important. Unfortunately, when one afternoon I called she could no longer talk and passed on a few hours later. Indeed so sad to lose a loved one when a thousand miles apart and only separated by strange lands and seas.

Sir Edward Muteesa II
The former president of Uganda died in London aged 45 on November 21, 1969. His body was returned to Uganda in 1971 during the regime of Idi Amin and buried at Kasubi tombs.

A portrait of Kabaka Edward Muteesa II. He returned to Uganda in 1955 and became Uganda’s first president following Independence on October 9, 1962. PHOTO | FILE

Idi Amin Dada
He ruled Uganda between 1971 and 1979. He died in exile in Saudi Arabia at King Faisal Specialist hospital in Riyadh on August 16, 2003. His remains have never been returned home.

Dr Apollo Milton Obote
He ruled Uganda twice and was regarded as the founding father of the nation who led us to independence in 1962.

Apollo Milton Obote

Obote lived in exile in Zambia between 1985 and 2005 when he was admitted to a Johannesburg Hospital suffering from acute respiratory problems where he died on October 10, 2005. His body was returned two weeks later and buried  at Abyeibuti village, Akokoro.

Prof Yusuf Kironde Lule
He was the fourth president of Uganda who has so far had the shortest reign. He ruled between April 13-June 20, 1979 and died while in exile in London on January 21, 1985. His body was flown to Entebbe on January 22, 1986 after the National Resistance Army had captured power.

Kabaka Daniel Mwanga II
He was the 31st Kabaka of Buganda who reigned between 1884 and 1897. The British exiled him to Victoria on Seychelles islands where he died in 1903. His body was later returned and buried at Kasubi tombs near Kampala.

John ‘Kale’ Kalekyezi
He was a pan African activist during the1960s and father to former IGP Kale  Kaihura. He died in a plane crash on August 17, 1960 in Kiev, Ukraine on his way from Russia which had nurtured his ideology

Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga
The former Archbishop of Kampala and Uganda’s first cardinal who was elevated in 1976. Born November 5, 1914 he died of leukemia on April 20, 1991 at the age of 78 at a hospital in Cologne, Germany.  

Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga. File PHOTO

When his body was returned home, people viewing it inside Lubaga cathedral made long lines stretching to as far as Nabunya and Kabusu trading centres on Kampala-Masaka road.

Eria Kategaya
The former first deputy prime minister died  when serving as minister for East African Affairs in a Kenyan hospital in March 2003. Kategaya died of thrombosis, a blockage preventing the flow of blood. 

Dr Suleiman Kiggundu
The former governor of the Bank of Uganda and FDC party chairman. He spent a month in a South African hospital but eventually succumbed to intestinal complications  in June 2008.

Brig Noble Mayombo
The former ADC to president Museveni and permanent secretary of defence. The  news of Mayombo’s death was so shocking that evening around Kajjansi while on our way to  Entebbe Airport destined for  Brussels for a journalism awarding ceremony.

The late Brig. Noble Mayombo.

This was on the evening of May 1, 2007. He was only 47 when died in Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi.

Lt Gen Pecos Kuteesa
An NRA war veteran. He breathed his last on August 17, 2020 while being treated in an Indian hospital. He was only 65.

Peter Otai
The former minister of State for Defence and one of the most powerful men during the Obote II government. He died in exile aged 80 at St Mary’s hospital in London on January 2, 2020. His body was later returned to Soroti and accorded a decent burial. 

Rev Fr Simon Lokodo
One of those Ugandans that died abroad while on state duty. He was a Catholic priest turned politician.

Women carry a portrait of former Ethics and Integrity Minister, Rev Fr Simon Lokodo,  during the Requiem Mass at Christ the King Church, Kampala, on February 7, 2022. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

The former minister of Ethics and Integrity went on state duty to Geneva, Switzerland in January 2022 and while there he was pronounced dead on January 29,  a few minutes to midnight.

Archbishop Jonah Lwanga
He was the head of the Orthodox Church in Uganda. He died in September 2021 in Athens, Greece aged 76. He was reportedly being treated for cancer.

The late Archbishop of the Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga

His body was returned home and buried at St Nicholas Cathedral in Namungoona, Wakiso. 

Prof  Tumusiime Mutebile
Considered one of Africa’s longest serving bank governors, he died on January 23, 2022 in a Nairobi Hospital aged 72. He was buried at his home in Katojo Cell,  Kabale  on  January 30.

Flight 775 passengers
33 Ugandans perished when a Uganda Airlines flight 775 crashed while attempting to land at Fiumicino Airport in Rome on October 17, 1988.

Their bodies were returned home for burial. Only 19 passengers survived the crash.

Lt Gen Aronda Nyakairima
He was 56 and reportedly died of a heart attack in Dubai while in transit destined  for duty in  South Korea in September 2015. 

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