Former Presidential candidate and Democratic party strongman, Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere passed away today at his home aged 90.
Ssemwogerere has been unwell for a long time hence this condition. He died at around 4 am at his home in Rubaga Division, Kampala.
His brother said his health deteriorated at around 10 pm hence calling on his doctor. But throughout the night, especially in the wee hours of Friday, he was unstable after he left the shower as he collapsed on the bed. He was pronounced dead moments later. His body has been taken to Rubaga Hospital for postmortem.
“We have learnt about his death and we were devastated. I was with him on Monday this week and we discussed several things with him. He dedicated his life to uniting forces of change in this country, he had given us different assignments and I was supposed to meet him today to follow up on our engagement. Sadly, he has not lived to see the moment he worked hard for. He has been our mentor.” Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago told journalists at Ssemwogerere’s home on Friday.
Kawanga Ssemwogerere was born on 11th February 1932 in present-day Kalangala District. He attended St. Henry’s College Kitovu for his high school. He received a Diploma in Education from Makerere University. He studied the Politics and government program in Pennsylvania.
In 1979, he obtained a PhD IN public administration from Syracuse University in New York.
In 1961-62 Ssemwogerere was elected as a member of the Uganda Legislative Council and afterwards of the National Assembly of Uganda and as a Member of Parliament for North Mengo Constituency.
In 1972, he replaced Benedicto Kiwanuka as the Leader of the Democratic Party, and in 1984 he was reelected in the same position.
Ssemwogerere was a presidential candidate in the 1980 presidential election against Dr Milton Obote, which he lost. Ssemwogerere then became the leader of the opposition in parliament from 1981 to 1985.
He was also appointed as the Minister for Internal Affairs during the presidency of Tito Okello from 1985 to 1986.
After Yoweri Museveni became president in 1986, Ssemwogerere was consecutively Minister of Internal Affairs (1986-88), Foreign Affairs (1988-94), Public Service (1994-95) and at the same time held the post of deputy prime minister in Museveni’s National Resistance Movement government from 1986.
He resigned from his government posts in June 1995 because he was the presidential candidate for the mainstream opposition, but he lost the 1996 presidential elections to General Museveni.
Ssemwogerere was also a delegate to the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) and was the chairman of the OAU Council of Ministers from 1993 to 1994.
After he retired from politics in November 2005, he was succeeded as the party president by John Ssebaana Kizito.