2022 has seen several important pillars of East African society pass away. Nile Post brings you part two of three memorials of who they were and why they mattered.
Emorimor Papa Augustine Osuban Lemukol (1934-February 5, 2022)
A figure of peace and unity in Teso, Emorimor Papa Augustine Osuban Lemukol’s death once called into question the survival of the cultural institution whose head he had been 2000. After protracted negotiations, this was resolved in October 2022 when Paul Sande Emolot Etomeileng was installed as his successor. The late Emorimor was one of the last public figures to succumb to COVID-19 in the country.
Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah (March 23, 1965 – March 20, 2022)
Speaker of the 11th parliament for 11 months, Oulanyah was one of the most consequential political leaders in Uganda in the last three years of his life. His ascension to speakership in May 2021 saw the fall from power of Busoga strongwoman and former speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who had once seemed a potential candidate for president. His popularity in Omoro and the north is believed to have helped the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) regain political favour there in the 2021 general election. His abrupt death saw the coming into office of Uganda’s second female speaker Anitah Among who was expected to have a ten year internship under Oulanyah. Oulanyah’s death also brought to the fore the ugly spectre of tribalism that lurks underneath the surface of Ugandan politics and life as northern members of parliament accused MPs from central Uganda of not wanting their own to receive adequate medical care, as Oulanyah did in Seattle, USA, where he died. His unexpected absence from the political scene has probably altered the trajectory of Ugandan history 2022 and beyond in ways we are yet to appreciate.
Shem Sitakange Semambo (February 1, 1972- March 21, 2022)
One of Uganda’s best marketing brains, Shem Semambo aka Kagusunda played an important part in the association drinks companies have with the entertainment industry. Through his zealous promotion of Club Pilsner beer, Semambo led the way in marketeers appreciating the importance of the endorsement they received from especially musicians and popular society figures. After a brilliant career in the 2000s, Semambo had retreated from the limelight at the time of his death from the rare and agonising transverse myelitis. He was an educationist at the time of his death.
Mwai Kibaki (November 15, 1931 – April 21, 2022)
Third president of Kenya, Kibaki broke the stranglehold that Daniel Arap Moi, the “professor of politics” had had for nearly four decades on that country. At great personal risk, Kibaki turned on his former master (he was Moi’s vice president for ten years) to contest and win the 2002 election. Kibaki’s tenure helped return Kenya to the international scene where it had been a pariah in the last years of Moi’s presidency. Kibaki strengthened government institutions during his presidency setting the foundation for the country’s renewed economic growth. His 2013 handover to Uhuru Kenyatta ensured that the country was on the path to orderly and largely peaceful power transfer. Kibaki’s legacy remains tainted by the 2007-2008 clashes over the electoral results that saw hundreds killed and displaced. Every election since has been haunted by the tense events of those months before Kibaki “swore himself” in in a curious night ceremony.
David Kimenye (-May 4, 2022)
One of the many “faceless” but important private FM radio pioneers in Uganda, David Kimenye was associated with Radio One for much of his career where he was one of its best voice over artists. His voice was used in many jingles including the most famous one, “The weather is brought to you by Steel and Tube industries.” Kimenye hailed from legendary parentage as his mother Barbara Kimenye was the author of the Moses books read in schools in the region. Kimenye’s family was close to the Buganda Kingdom royal family. He succumbed to lung cancer.
Professor Rachel Musoke (February 8, 1944 – June 4, 2022)
A Ugandan who flourished in Kenya, Professor Rachel Musoke was the leading neonatologist at Kenyatta Hospital for 40 years until her retirement in 2021. From the time she started her service in 1977, Musoke would play a big role in advancing knowledge on the care for babies with weight and other health challenges. Prof. Musoke was also an accomplished academic with 70 publications in peer reviewed journals, 16 of which were published as a first author. At graduate level, Prof. Musoke supervised 89 Master’s degrees in Paediatrics and Child Health; many of these theses have since been be published and inform public policy in Kenya.
DJ Alex Ndawula (1963-June 6, 2022)
One of the brightest stars of Ugandan radio, DJ Alex Ndawula “Muchachos” more than anyone defined what it was to be a radio personality in the 1990s to mid 2000s. Erudite, witty, sarcastic, with a larger than life personality behind the microphone, many entrants into the profession profess Ndawula was their idol and example. His Dance Force (every Saturday at 8:00pm till late) and Sundowner (every weekday at 6:00pm to 7:00pm) were must listens as was his stint with Christine Mawadri and Zzinga on the Capital FM’s breakfast show. Like his equally talented contemporary Allan ‘The Cantankerous One’ Mugisha, Ndawula’s career and life were as much a lesson of what to emulate as to avoid. He defined Capital FM radio which he served for 23 dedicated years before retiring in 2017. His death in 2022 is all the more poignant as the medium he dominated struggles for survival in the new digital age.