FDC Katonga mourns 'Besigyeist' former Kabale mayor Ruhemurana

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FDC Katonga mourns 'Besigyeist' former Kabale mayor Ruhemurana
The later Pius Ruhemurana with Dr Kizza Besigye and Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago | Courtesy-Chimpreports

TRIBUTE | They called him Mayor, he was their Omushaho, the man who smiled even when frustrated, and the one who probably believed in Dr Kizza Besigye more than he believed in his stethoscope.

This is the portrait of Dr Pius Ruhemurana, a gynaecologist who dedicated himself to the service of Kabale and the Greater Kigezi not only in his clinic but also on the sociopolitical rostrums.

Ruhermurana, who served as mayor of Kabale Municipality for 20 years, closed his eyes on Tuesday morning after giving up a two-year battle with complications related to a stroke.

Four-time presidential candidate Besigye said he had learnt with "great sadness" of the death of "our veteran democracy activist and leader", Dr  Ruhemurana.

"This is a huge loss for Kigezi and Uganda at large," Dr Besigye said of the founding member of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) that he led for a decade from its inception until 2011.

"Heartfelt condolences go to the family, relatives and friends."

Lydia Turyahumura, Kabale FDC-Katonga faction leader, shares her memories of the late Dr Pius Ruhemurana

In Kabale on Thursday morning, Dr Ruhemurana's body was taken to the Municipal Council Hall for official mourning, with FDC leaders in the area paying glowing tributes to a man who lived for his people.

Lydia Turyahumura, the Kabale FDC-Katonga faction chairperson, says they have lost a great leader for the party, describing Dr Ruhemurana, who died at the age of 76, as great mobiliser in Kabale.

“As FDC-Katonga, we shall miss Omushaho (Doctor). as a great leader in our region and the country at large for his good mobilisation to our party, we have really lost him and we shall miss him,” Turyahumura said.

“During his leadership as a mayor, he made sure that service delivery in Kabale Municipality was key. Since he was a professional medical doctor, Ruhemurana prioritised health facilities to be key during his term of office."

Dr Joseph Tindyebwa, former FDC deputy secretary general, remembers Ruhemurana as  fearless advocate for political reforms.

"Ruhemurana’s unwavering support for FDC and good governance, alongside leaders like Dr Besigye, inspired many to join the movement for a better Uganda," he said.

Tindyebwa described the late Ruhemurana as a "lion and hero of Kigezi" both politically and professionally, adding that the sub-region had lost a man of integrity and commitment to serving the people.

"He served without seeking personal gains from the government," he said.

Other Kabale leaders including Ali Karama described Dr Ruhemurana as a man who loved development, adding that during his reign as a mayor, he made sure that he fought corruption.

“As someone who worked with Dr Ruhemurana when he was a mayor, he helped us in fighting corruption, he worked hard to see Kabale municipality develop. Dr Ruhemurana was an open-minded leader," said Karama.

Former Prime Minister and Kigezi luminary Ruhakana Rugunda said Dr Ruhemurana was a "distinguished and highly dependable physician".

"As mayor, he provided political leadership that encouraged unity and prosperity of all the people," Dr Rugunda said.

 

After Mayor Omushaho lost his seat to NRM's to Emmanuel Byamugisha Sentaro - the current mayor for Kabale Municipality - he remained steadfast in his ideals and influential within the FDC as the chairperson on the FDC delegates structures.

Through his political and professional career, Dr Ruhemurana remained dedicated to his principles.

He was known for his straightforward speech, even in the presence of the country’s leaders advocating for the betterment of Kabale and its people.

Dr Ruhemurana served as the fifth mayor for Kabale Municipality from 1996 to 2016.

He also served as the FDC chairperson for Kabale Municipality and as head of laity for Kabale Diocese, as well as the chairperson Board of Trustees of Kabale Gold Club, among other capacities.

Dr Ruhemurana's battle with ill-health is said to have started not long after losing his wife three years ago. He suffered a stroke shortly after her departure and had been undergoing treatment all the while.

Dr Pius Ruhemurana, who is survived by one child, will be laid to rest in Kabale tomorrow (Friday).

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