Apolo Nsibambi 1940-2019
President Yoweri Museveni on May 29 visited the home of the late Premier Apolo Nsibambi at Bulange Mengo.
Museveni said he first met Nsibambi while still in the bush and he (Nsibambi) was introduced as a great monarchist.
The President praised Nsibambi as a person who contributed immensely to the development of Uganda and bridged the gap between Buganda and the Central government.
“Nsibambi as a monarchist worked hard to bridge the gap between the bush war fighters who had just captured the power and leading the central government and the Mengo government”, Museveni said
He said the deceased led the committee to negotiate the return of Buganda property. “He put a brick on bridging the gap between us the fighters and Mengo,” the President added.
“He has been doing it for a long time since we came to government and he did a great job making us understand the monarchy,” Museveni added.
Prof Nsibambi, who was battling high blood pressure and cancer, passed away on Tuesday at his home in Bulange Kampala at the age of 78.
“God created death,” said Museveni, “What matters is what contribution did you make to society when you were alive,” he said.
He applauded Esther Nsibambi for taking good care of her husband since the death of his first wife almost 20 years ago.
“I talked to him three weeks ago. But that’s life. God has decided there is nothing we can do. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” he concluded.
Geoffrey Zziwa, the family spokesperson said Nsibambi’s body will this Friday be moved from a funeral home to Parliament where lawmakers will pay their last respects to the former academic and bureaucrat.
Nsibambi’s body will be taken to his residence for vigil and prayers on Monday, June 3.
On Tuesday, May 4, a church service will be held at Saint Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe starting at 9:00 am till 1:00 pm.
His remains will later be laid to rest at Buloba at 4:00 pm.
Nsibambi went to King’s College Buddo, Makerere University, the University of Chicago, the University of Nairobi and the University of London.
He also taught at Makerere University and in 1987, Nsibambi served as the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences at the same university from 1978 until 1983 and from 1985 until 1987 he was appointed the head of the Department of Political Science at the university, a position he held until 1990.
He became the Director, Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) in 1994, serving in that capacity until 1996.
Between 1996 and 1998, he served as Minister of Public Service. In 1998 he was appointed Minister of Education and Sports, serving in that capacity until 1999 when he was appointed Prime Minister.
In May 2011, during a caucus meeting, he got to learn he had been replaced by Amama Mbabazi as Prime Minister. Consequently, he addressed the media and thanked President Museveni for the time he spent in the office.
There is glowing tribute to Uganda’s longest-serving Prime minister, Prof Apolo Robin Nsibambi. Nsibambi who served as prime minister from 1999 until 2011, died at his home in Rubaga division on Tuesday evening.
President Yoweri Museveni said on Twitter; “I have learnt of the untimely passing of the former prime minister, Prof Apolo Nsibambi. He was a true patriot and great academic. The country will miss him.”
Museveni’s message said he had instructed current prime minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda to lead a team that will ensure that Nsibambi gets a befitting send-off.
Democratic Party president, Norbert Mao in a Twitter message also paid tribute to the deceased; “I’m saddened to learn of the death of former prime minister Prof Apolo Nsibambi. I convey my condolences to his family and also to all Ugandans. An accomplished academic who transitioned smoothly into the political arena, Nsibambi served with integrity, dignity and class. RIP”
Ramathan Ggoobi, a policy analyst, researcher and lecturer of economics at Makerere University Business School said; “You want a true definition of a professor? Apolo Robin Nsibambi. Rest In Peace Prof. Your soul must already be in heaven; you always kept time.”
A message from ministry of Health said the minister deeply regrets the passing of the former premier. "...Nsibambi will always be remembered as a great orator, academician and an intellectual leader. May his soul rest in eternal peace."
The late Nsibambi was born on October 25, 1940. He attended King's College Budo for his high school education and held a Bachelor of Science degree in economics with honors from the Makerere University under London University.
He also held a Master of Arts degree in political science from the University of Chicago in the United States. His Doctor of Philosophy degree was obtained from the University of Nairobi. Professor Nsibambi was married to the late Rhoda Nsibambi who died at 62 in 2001. He later married Esther Nakiboneka Kabuuza with whom he has been living until his demise.
Time at Makerere
Nsibambi became the first non Head of State chancellor of Makerere University following the enactment of the Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act.
He was chancellor of Makerere from 2003 to 2007. His four-year tenure as chancellor of Uganda’s largest university was rewarding but had turbulent times marked by several strikes. In October 2007 he talked to URN about his time as a chancellor.
"I feel like greatly privileged to serve Makerere as chancellor. I enjoyed job satisfaction when I served Makerere." he said.
"I came to the top of my career, I enjoyed carrying out research, I enjoyed teaching, publishing articles. So it has been a great opportunity to pay back my academic debt to Makerere University. But there have also been other problems like indiscipline. Strikes encouraging students to loot their neighbouring areas. I was greatly disgusted by this thuggery. And let me hope that this kind of thuggery will be stumped out of existence. I was more than disgusted by students looting innocent areas during strikes." he added.
"Makerere has some internal problems like any other university. It has problems of quality, large numbers, members of staff not getting adequate salary. But Makerere is still a viable institution. It has not died as alleged. And I'm delighted to having been given the first non-Head of State to preside over this great institution may the Almighty bless Makerere University.”
Before joining cabinet as minister of Education, Public Service and later prime minister, Nsibambi held various positions at Makerere from lecturer to dean of faculty of Social Sciences. He was also the director of Makerere Institute for Social Research (MISR). Nsibambi was a gifted orator who diligently steered parliament as the leader of government business. His role was quite evident especially when Uganda decided to return to multiparty politics.
He was loved across the political divide. Despite heated debates on the floor of parliament, he would be seen talking to members of the opposition and the ruling NRM at the parliamentary foyer at times bursting into prolonged laughter.
He was found of asking parliament to avoid what he termed as "political lugubriousness" which earned him the moniker "Mr Lugubrious” in the parliamentary circles.
At the peak of the disagreements on the floor of parliament, Nsibambi would plead with the then speaker, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, his then deputy Rebecca Kadaga and the leader of the opposition, Prof Ogenga Latigo for a retreat.
Nsibambi’s death comes at the time when there is a heated debate about the need to amend the constitution to strop MPs of powers to determine their emoluments.
This debate has been on since 2006. This is what Nsibambi said in 2006 when the matter came up at the floor of parliament. Nsibambi appeared to have been contradicting the position of Ssekandi. Ssekandi had insisted that parliament would retain the powers to determine its emoluments. Nsibambi would diplomatically drive his point home.
"Our argument was that if you have an independent body, if it increases our emoluments and gratuity, then we will not be vulnerable but the honorable members of parliament rejected that proposal. I would like you to think about it. I don’t want to antagonize my speaker but I want to inform you firmly but humbly that an independent commission is better than the current arrangement." Nsibambi said.
Nsibambi the Church man
Nsibambi loved church faithfully. He was at St Paul’s Cathedral every morning says Olive Nakatudde, a journalist who had witnessed him and his wife, “Esther” as he fondly introduced her to the members of the congregation.
“He would walk in quietly. He was not kind of a leader that could show a lot of power around him. He did not enter with an armed guard in church yet he had one. He was down to earth person and quite approachable” said Nakatudde.
Apolo and Esther Nsibambi’s absence from church would always be noticed and it had been a practice for the clergy to announce why they were not in attendance.
“For the past two months he has not been attending church, He was respected member of St Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe. He would attend the Luganda service that starts at 10:30am.
“And he would always grant interviews to journalists. He would jokingly say you journalists why don’t you let me rest since I’m in retirement? He would hold your hand through the corridors of church then allow to be interviewed.”
Professor Apolo Robin Nsibambi-Former Chancellor
Right Honourable Apolo Robin Nsibambi was the first non-Head-of-State Chancellor of Makerere University, a position he served from his appointment in October 2003 to October 2007. Prof. Nsibambi also served as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda from 5th April 1999 to 24th May 2011.