An industrious life of a Ugandan veteran politician born in Uganda February 1932, has this morning, come to an end.
Who Was Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere?
Paul Ssemogerere (politician) 1932- 2022
|Born||11 February 1932|
|Died||18 November 2022
|Alma mater||Makerere University
(Diploma in Education)
(Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Government)
(Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration)
|Years active||1961 — 2005|
Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere and wife on the day he celebrated 90 years at Lubaga Cathedral
Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere (born 11 February 1932) in present-day Kalangala District, in the Buganda Region of Uganda,was the leader of the Democratic Party, the oldest political party in Uganda for 25 years and one of the main players in Ugandan politics until his retirement in 2005.
He Contested for presidency in 1980 and lost against Milton Obote in what is arguably the most out rightly rigged election in his native country Uganda. He won the election but instead of declaring him the winner, the electoral commission on the orders of Paul Muwanga, declared Milton Obote as the winner and was sworn in as president of Uganda for the second time following his first regime, which he forcefully assumed after the attack on the palace of the first president of Uganda and Kabaka of Buganda, Sir Edward Muteesa’s palace in 1966. Obote was ousted from presidency by his army commander, General Idi Amin Dada in 1971.
To the surprise of the world, unlike his fellow contestant who tailed the 1980 presidential race, and (now president of Uganda close to 40 years), Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni, who chose to wage a 5 year protracted bush war that ended Milton Obote’s rule over Uganda in 1985, Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere joined parliamentary opposition side as its leader.
In 1986 when Tibuhaburwa Museveni took power, Kawanga Ssemogerere joined his government and served under different portfolios concurrently also as DP president for 25 years. In 1996, after Mr. Museveni had decided to open political space to all political parities to mobilise, Ssemogerere contested against Mr Museveni in an election he again believed was rigged in favour of Museveni. Dr. Ssemogerere publicly wept because he was rigged out for the second time.
Ssemogerere was born on 11 February 1932, in Uganda. He attended St. Henry’s College Kitovu for his high school. He received a Diploma in Education from Makerere University in Kampala. He studied the Politics and Government Program at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. In 1979 he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in public administration from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.. He died on 18th November 2022.
In 1961–62 Ssemogerere was elected as a member of the Uganda Legislative Council and afterwards of the National Assembly of Uganda as Member of Parliament for North Mengo Constituency. In 1972, he replaced Benedicto Kiwanuka as the leader of the Democratic Party, having previously served as his Parliamentary Secretary. Following the 1971 coup, Ssemogerere was in exile until 1979, when he returned as Minister of Labour.
In 1980, Paul Ssemogerere assumed leadership of the Democratic Party. In 1984, he was reelected as leader over the challenge of Okeny Atwoma. In response to Okeny Atwoma’s unsuccessful challenge, Atwoma established the Nationalist Liberal Party alongside former minister Anthony Ochaya, Cuthbert Joseph Obwangor, and Francis Bwenge. He was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs during the short lived presidency of Tito Okello (1985–86).
After Yoweri Museveni became president in January 1986 following the famous Luweero Triangle 5 years war, in which over 500,000 people perished, Ssemogerere was consecutively Minister of Internal Affairs (1986–88), Foreign Affairs (1988–94) and 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 Museveni.
Ssemogerere had also been a delegate to the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), and was chairman of the OAU Council of Ministers from 1993 to 1994.
Ssemogerere was married to Germina Namatovu Ssemogerere, a professor of economics at Makerere University. Their children include Grace Nabatanzi (1963–2011), who married Gerald Ssendaula, Karoli Ssemogerere, an American-trained lawyer, Anna Namakula, a public policy analyst with the Foundation for African Development, Immaculate Kibuuka a fashion designer and Paul Semakula an ICT Consultant. He was a member of the Roman Catholic religion.
- 1961–62 Parliamentary Secretary to Chief Minister Benedicto Kiwanuka
- 1963–69 Publicity Secretary Democratic Party
- 1979–81 Member National Consultative Council
- 1981–85 Leader of the Official Opposition
- 1984–94 Vice President Christian Democratic International
- 1985–88 Minister of Internal Affairs
- 1988–90 Chair OAU Council of Ministers
- 1988–94 Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and Regional Affairs
- 1994–95 Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Service
- 1999 Brought the first of 5 landmark cases that outlawed the Movement System and set stage for return of Political Parties to Uganda.
- 2005 Retired as DP President to private business.
- 2011 Honored as Sabasaba 2011 by Sabasaba Flame Award, for being an all time pro-Democracy and peace politician
- Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere shall for ever be remembered in the annals of Uganda’s history as a statesman of unequaled virtues and values. He tirelessly laboured to see his motherland democratically governed.