East African Community Secretary General Dr. Richard Sezibera has joined Ugandans and the region to mourn Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister Eriya Kategaya who died on Saturday.
Kategaya, also Minister of East African Community Affairs, passed on at Nairobi Hospital more than a month after being admitted at the health facility. The cause of death was reported as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition that presents with blood clot.
Dr. Sezibera describes the late Kategaya as an excellent public servant who always carried himself with great dignity and humility. He noted that Kategaya served the cause of Uganda with the same zeal he used to champion the cause of East African unity and development.
In a statement, Dr. Sezibera said Kategaya was one of the major pillars in the democratic process of Uganda, was very instrumental in the revival of the EAC in 1996, and the signing of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC in 1999.
The Secretary General recalls late Kategaya’s immense role in the negotiations of the protocols on the establishment of the EAC Customs Union and the Common Market. He says the late brought his sharp legal mind to bear on the direction of the negotiations. His contributions were always inspired by a sense of justice and fairness in the determination of the issues of the Community.
Sezibera says the late Kategaya was truly an East African and a passionate advocate of the regional integration agenda.
On Sunday, President Mwai Kibaki described the late Kategaya as forthright, well respected, humble, consensus builder and a man of outstanding ability.
Kategaya’s body arrived in Uganda on Monday morning and a special sitting of Parliament is slated for Tuesday afternoon for the legislators to eulogise the fallen long-serving minister and childhood friend of President Yoweri Museveni. He served in different key positions in Museveni’s government between 1986 and 2003 when the two fell out over plans by the president to amend the consitution and contest for a third presidential term. After a stint in the opposition, Kategaya rejoined cabinet in 2006 as First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Affairs. Other ministerial dockets previously held by Kategaya include foreign affairs, internal affairs and National Political Commissar.
A national thanksgiving will be on Wednesday at Kololo independence Grounds after which the body will be transported to his ancestral home in Itojo, Ntungamo District, for burial on Thursday.