2022 has seen several important pillars of East African society pass away. Nile Post brings you part one of three memorials of who they were and why they mattered.
Charles Njonjo (January 23, 1920 – January 2, 2022)
Most famously Kenya’s Attorney General 1963 to 1979, Charles Njonjo oversaw Kenya’s transition from the leadership of legendary father of the nation Jomo Kenyatta to his vice president Daniel Arap Moi. A proud man who was educated in England, taking to the bar, Njonjo was just as known for his sharp sense of style. He always ensured he appeared in public dressed in the latest suit styles from Saville row. He was also one of Kenya’s richest men.
Richard Leakey (December 19, 1944 – January 2, 2022)
One of the world’s most famous paleonthropologists, a progeny of Louis and Mary Leakey, Richard would live several public careers in Kenya that still affect their fields. Starting out in archeology, Richard would rally support for wildlife conservation as Kenya’s diverse nature was destroyed by development and encroachers, playing a crucial role in the formation of the Kenya Wildlife Service, founded an NGO WildlifeDirect and raised the profile of the National Museum of Kenya, as well bringing in invaluable endowments for research and preservation.
Christopher Sembuya (1935- January 11, 2022)
A prominent Ugandan businessman credited with playing a key role in the recovery of the economy in the 1980s and 1990s, Christopher Sembuya co-founded Sembule Steel Mills. Sembuya is lauded for inspiring native Ugandan entrepreneurs with his various businesses that eventually saw the production of a Ugandan made radio popularly called Makula. Sembuya’s Sembule Electronics Ltd manufactured radio and television sets, telephone sets and other essential electronics at his Nalukolongo industrial complex in Kampala. He was an all round businessman with interests in manufacturing, insurance, real estate and banking at one time.
Dr Christopher Ndugwa (1940- January 21, 2022)
Expert paediatrician and Child Health advocate, Dr Ndugwa distinguished himself in the care and treatment of Sickle Cell sufferers. He ran the Mulago Hospital Sickle Cell clinic for decades. He served for over 40-years at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences where many of the best doctors in the region enjoyed his tutelage. He would rise to head the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health there. Later in his career, he carved another lane for himself as a committed advocate for prevention of mother to child HIV transmission (PMTCT) and paediatric HIV treatment.
Dr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile (January 27, 1949 – January 23, 2022)
Considered the architect of Uganda’s economic recovery after 1986, Dr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile was Bank of Uganda’s longest serving governor until his death. President Museveni credited Mutebile with convincing him to turn to capitalism and economic measures like privatisation to jolt the Ugandan economy into life after a protracted civil war that consumed Uganda from 1979 to 1986.
Fr. Simon Lokodo (October 28, 1957 – January 29, 2022)
Uganda’s former ethics minister, an indefatigable opponent of LGBTQ rights, the defrocked priest was a fearless “defender” of African values until his dying day. He attracted the wrath of Ugandan feminists when he called for a mini skirt ban to “promote decency.” He was also an outspoken opponent of pornography, blaming it for the moral decay he saw everywhere in Uganda.
Hajji Haroun Muwonge ( -February 5, 2022)
A longtime mainstay of Kampala party life, Muwonge was the supplier of the equipment that made every function all the better for the “bidongo” through his Ham Sounds company. He was a close associate of Charlie Lubega and worked at his Guvnor nightclub, in addition to running his own company.