Ringa’s roller coaster life and times

Former State Minister for Public Service, Patrick Aloysius Okumu Ringa is dead. Photo | File

What you need to know:

  • He has been eulogised as a kind-hearted man who worked for the development of his town.

The former State Minister for Public Service and a business philanthropist, Patrick Aloysius Okumu Ringa, has died. 
Ringa died aged 69 after a long illness.

The deceased has been praised for being a kind-hearted man, who helped the poor, sick, the disabled and particularly served God to the fullest.

Ringa was the first man to construct a storeyed building in the heart of Nebbi Town in 1986. To date, the building, accommodates about 50 businesses with a large entertainment lounge, Raja Deluxe. 

Being an astute businessman, Ringa started Afro Motors Company that imported Peugeot cars in Uganda.
As he sailed through the business, he established an estate at Namrwodho, another gigantic business centre near Nebbi Central Market and set up a decent home atop Jukia Hill. He passed away yesterday morning after a long battle with stroke.

His Education
He studied at Makerere University, Harvard University, and University of Claremont Ferrand; Akron, Ohio.

His resilience and determination to become an MP paid off after he won the 2001 elections. He then served until 2006. 

Before and during his reign, he constructed several boreholes to serve the people of Nebbi, who were in dire need of clean and safe water. 

When he attempted to retain the 2006-2011 elections, Ringa lost to the former Speaker of Nebbi District Council, Mr David Ringechan (UPC). Ringa took Ringechan to court for a vote recount. 

The Chief Magistrate Court presided over by Mr Joseph Omodo Nyanga, however, found that the invalid votes recounted could not change the results. Ringa lost on that ground. 

During campaigns, he always stressed the need to serve people diligently and ensuring children are educated. He then sponsored more than 200 students from various levels of education. 
Ringa’s troubled times
 Ringa had since August 1994 been claiming Shs1.8 billion (excluding interest accrued) for a lost business opportunity after the government did not buy French-made Peugeot vehicles from him. 

At that time, Ringa said he had imported about 138 vehicles to supply government through his Afro Motors. But government declined and instead procured Japanese made cars.

He said because of the flopped deal, he had to sell his houses on Plot 17 Acacia Avenue and Plot 28 Windsor Crescent, Kololo to service a bank loan. He said the Kololo mansion, now home to Kabojja Junior School, was worth Shs1.5b, but was auctioned in 1998 for only Shs680m.

“I have suffered because even my family was thrown out of the house while I was away in the United Kingdom,” he said.
In July 2000, Ringa received Shs300 million on President Museveni’s directive and another Shs431.8 million paid to him in March 2002. By 2004, Ringa had been paid Shs931.8 million as compensation for his defunct Afro Motors Ltd.

When Nebbi was granted a municipality, Ringa returned to contest in the elections but failed. It was shortly after this that he suffered a stroke.
 He battled it for more than four years until he passed away yesterday in Kampala.

“He suffered a stroke about four years ago and he has been living at his home in Naguru where he passed on this morning,” the family source said. 

After information trickled in on various social media platforms, several people eulogised the former minister and MP as a kind man who served people diligently. 

The State Minister for Northern Uganda, Ms Grace Kwiyucwiny, said: “Friends, be informed that Patrick Aloysius Okumu Ringa has just passed on this morning.  Other arrangements will follow.”

 Mr Frank Mugabi, the communication officer in the Ministry of Gender, said: “He lived such a fruitful life, fruits he shared with all. He was one of the icons I first got to know in Nebbi. If places need kick-starts, he kick-started Nebbi in many ways. He should be celebrated more than anything. We have the family in prayer.”

Rising from a business background through the establishment of Afro Motors, Ringa built a business empire that made him start Aroma Tea processing, opened up several business shops in Nebbi Town and Kampala. 

This enabled him to build popularity and eventual rise to the Parliament. He also immensely supported the Church-specifically the construction of Nebbi Cathedral, where he prayed with his family members.

About Okumu Ringa

  • He served as MP for Padyere County Nebbi District 2001-2006
  • He then served as NRM district chairperson for Nebbi
  • He was Minister of State for Public Service 2001 – 2006
  • He was a prominent businessman and majority shareholder in Afro Motors, a company that imported Peugeots.

What some people say...

King of Alur Kingdom Phillip Olarker Rauni III
He was one of the greatest men and an icon whose identity will be greatly missed. He promoted tea growing in the kingdom with brand name ‘Aroma Tea’ which marketed tea to the international market

James Chombe Mucek, former politician 
We have seen the contributions of our late brother both politically and developmentally to the people of greater Nebbi, which people must embrace and protect his family members.

Nebbi District NRM party chairperson George Kermundu 
The NRM party has lost a big political icon whose impact will be felt both at the grassroots and national level.