The people we lost in 2022

L-R (COMBO): Gen Elly Tumwine, Jacob Oulanyah and Alex Ndawula

What you need to know:

  • Along with taxes, deaths were ever-present in 2022. A great equaliser, it claimed Ugandans of all walks of life. Patrick Ssentongo looks at some of the notable figures whose death dominated this year.

Papa Emorimor Osuban Lemukol Augustine (August 12, 1934 – February 4, 2022)
Described by many as a key uniting factor for Teso across the globe, the erstwhile paramount chief succumbed to Covid-19 at Mulago National Referral Hospital where he had been hospitalised for close to a fortnight. 
Enthroned as Teso paramount chief in April 2000, having retired from public service in 1988, Osuban discharged duties of coordinating Teso clans with grace while ignoring questions arising from the creation of the institution.

Papa Emorimor Osuban Lemukol Augustine

Justice Rubby Opio Aweri (May 31, 1953 – December 7, 2022) 
Justice Aweri served the Judiciary for nearly four decades, having started out as a Grade One Magistrate in 1983. He was a Justice of the Supreme Court at the time of his death. He was claimed by a stroke,  year shy to his retirement.

Justice Rubby Opio Aweri 

Omugave Nduggwa (April 17, 1940 – June 9, 2022) 
Most known for Emiliano Nsi, his 1988 theatre play, Joseph Semakula Nduggwa, famously known as Omugave Nduggwa, was a legendary theatre director, playwright and filmmaker. He shaped modern day theatre by grooming various young artistes under his Black Pearls group at Riverside Theatre. He boasted of more than 40 years in Uganda’s arts industry with over 30 plays, 300 poems and a couple of films written. He succumbed to prostate cancer at Kaiser Permanente Sunset Hospital in Boulevard California.

Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile (January 27, 1949 – January 23, 2022)
One of Uganda’s most influential economists, Prof Mutebile served as governor and chairman of the Board of Directors of the country’s Central Bank from 2001 until his death. He had previously served as Secretary to the Treasury from 1992 to 2001. He is remembered for fixing the economy that was in shambles after the National Resistance Movement government took over power in 1986 through implementation of the Economic Reform Programme during his time as Permanent Secretary at the Finance Ministry. He died aged 72 at Nairobi Hospital in Kenya due to diabetic-related sickness. At the time of his death, he had just started a new term of office for which he was reappointed in 2021.

Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile 

Alex Ndawula (January 6, 1963 – June 6, 2022)
The very embodiment of a flawed genius, Alex Ndawula was one of the pioneer presenters on the radio airwaves in Uganda. He started out at Sanyu FM before moving to Capital FM where his legend grew that bit more. 
The presenter and disc jockey was big on morning radio and even bigger during his Dance Force mixes on Saturday nights. 
At the peak of FM Radio in Uganda, Ndawula owned the Dance weekend space. After more than 20 years at Capital FM, Ndawula retired in mid-2017.
 Well known for his unique voice and take-it-or-leave-it attitude, Ndawula inspired many radio personalities and deejays of this generation. 
He died of a brain hemorrhage at Nsambya Hospital aged 59.

Gen Elly Tumwine (April 22, 1954 – August 25, 2022) 
Credited for firing the first bullet that launched the five-year Bush War that ushered the current NRM government into power, Elly Tumwine would go on to serve as army commander, army representative to the House, chairman of the UPDF General Court Martial, Cabinet minister as well as presidential advisor. 
A true lover of art, he practised what he studied and taught by making a number of artistic designs during his lifetime. 
His defence of shoot-to-kill orders after the November 2020 killings saw some people toast to his death at the hands of lung cancer on August 25.

Gen Elly Tumwine 

Jakana Nadduli (1985 – October 24, 2022) 
The controversial political commentator unsuccessfully contested for Nakaseke Central MP seat in 2021. Earlier this year, he was arrested and charged in court for allegedly promoting sectarianism. He was later released on bail. Before this, he was severely injured in a road accident in March and to the point of his death was moving with the aid of crutches. The son of Abdul Nadduli died at Orient Medical Centre in Wobulenzi Town.

Yona Kanyomozi (June 29, 1940 – August 28, 2022) 
On August 28, Yona Kanyomozi walked into Nakasero Hospital for a routine medical checkup after presenting with headache and abdominal complications. He didn’t make it out of the hospital. In fact, he died that very day. Fondly remembered for services rendered as Cooperatives minister and Bushenyi South constituency legislator, Kanyomozi was a dyed-in-the-wool Uganda Peoples Congress cadre.

Yona Kanyomozi 

Lt Col Ahmed Kashilingi (1940 – November 3, 2022) 
Once belittled because of his size and height, Lt Col Ahmed Kashilingi would go on to put in towering performances during the Bush War that brought President Museveni to power. During the final onslaught on Kampala, he commanded the National Resistance Army 5th Battalion that also captured Katonga Bridge as well as Entebbe Road. Yet, he was arrested on treason charges in 1992.

Lt Col (rtd) Ahmed Kashillingi

Simon Lokodo (October 28, 1957 – January 29, 2022)
When a last-ditch attempt was made by the House to stop the Nyege Nyege Festival from taking place, Fr Simon Lokodo’s name repeatedly came for mention. Known for promotion of conservative social values, Lokodo put up a valiant fight in 2018 to pull the plug on the festival. When he pulled up short, he famously conceded that “the devil has a strong hand.” Lokodo represented Dodoth County in the House after winning a by-election in 2006. He, however, failed to win re-election in 2021. In between, he served in a number of ministerial roles, including the Ethics and Integrity docket. His involvement in active politics had him excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI. Lokodo became controversially popular for publicly challenging homosexuality and indecent dressing.

Simon Lokodo 

Kawanga Ssemogerere (February 11, 1932 – November 18, 2022) 
One of Uganda’s significant political figures post-Independence times, Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere led the opposition Democratic Party for 25 years. Even after his retirement from active politics in 2005, he remained in the backseat guiding the younger leaders. Ssemogerere was a two-time presidential candidate, having first contested in the December 1980 election. He contested again in 1996 and lost to Museveni. He died aged 90 at his home after his health deteriorated.

Patrick Okabe (November 28, 1958 – December 19, 2022) 
The Serere County lawmaker and his wife, Christine Okabe, died in a road crash. Okabe was the overseer of Impact Ministries church. Those who knew him described him as a peace lover and a devoted Christian.

Deceased. Serere County MP Patrick Okabe. Photo | Courtesy

Jacob Oulanyah (March 23, 1965 – March 20, 2022) 
A lover of colourful bow ties and motorcycles, Jacob Oulanyah appeared destined for great things when he beat Rebecca Kadaga to the House speakership. Barely months into the role of House Speaker, he was medevacked to the United States for specialised treatment.  It would later turn out that he had kept his cancer diagnosis a secret and even locked himself away from the world when the curtains were closing in. Fondly remembered for the key role he played in the peace process in northern Uganda, Oulanyah was buried at his ancestral home in Lalogi, Omoro District.

Other notable global deaths
Sidney Poitier (February 20, 1927 – January 6, 2022) 
He was the first black actor to land an Oscar in a leading role in 1964 for his performance in Lilies of the Field. He broke down racial barriers.
Queen Elizabeth II (April 12, 1926 – September 8, 2022) 
She was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.  Her death at 96 years drew to a close Great Britain’s second Elizabethan era, ushering in the reign of her son, King Charles III at age 73, making him the oldest person to asend to the British throne.
Mikhail Gorbachev (March 2, 1931 – August 30, 2022) 
The Soviet leader, who ended the so-called Cold War and later won the Nobel peace prize in 1990, was one of the most important world figure of the last quarter of the 20th century.