The Forum for Democratic Change says Uganda has lost a non-combative patriot, nationalist, democrat, and a selfless leader in Eriya Kategaya.
While paying tribute to the First Deputy Prime Minister, FDC spokesperson Wafula Ogutu says Kategaya was a man of reason and logic, who was willing to talk to everybody irrespective of their political affiliation.
Kategaya, 67, died on Saturday in at Nairobi Hospital where he had been admitted a month earlier. He The cause of death was recorded as Thrombosis, a condition in which a blockage in the veins caused by a clot or a lump of blood prevents the flow of blood.
Wafula recalls that Kategaya was among the 156 members in 2004 that formed PAFO and Chappa Karuhanga’s National Democratic Forum among others.
This was just a few months after Kategaya had disagreed with his childhood friend, President Yoweri Museveni, over a decision by the latter to amend the constitution and contest for another presidential term. Kategaya was dropped from cabinet in May 2003, the first time he had been dropped since 1986.
The FDC spokesperson says Kategaya’s sacking from Cabinet came as a surprise since he was known in the top circles as a close friend to President Museveni.
While at Bonita Hotel in Lubowa, Wakiso district, Kategaya is quoted to have said, it was right for them to form FDC and the party was at the right side of history.
When Kategaya decided to leave FDC, the party was very shocked, considering they thought he would be among their leaders. Kategaya took to FDC history and positive attributes of NRM.
FDC at the time bragged of robbing President Museveni of his progressive men including Augustine Ruzindana, Amanya Mushega, Major General Mugisha Muntu and retired Col. Dr Kiiza Besigye.
He reveals that for most of the party members, to make FDC complete and solid at the time, they needed veteran politicians like former Premier Kintu Musoke former Premier, former minister Bidandi Ssali and Kategeya.
FDC also remembers Kategaya for having led a clandestine delegation to go explain to the then Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa why they had formed the party.
According to Wafula the August 7th 2004 journey to Dar es Salaam was the last assignment Kategaya carried out for FDC.
However, this was the time Kategaya was facing pressure from government and was going through financial challenges. Despite all this, Wafula says even though Kategaya did not have adequate funds, he declined to join the bandwagon that amassed public wealth. He describes Kategaya as an honest person who lived a simple life.
Parliament will today hold a special sitting and pay tribute to Kategaya, who until his death was also Minister for East African Community Affairs. On Wednesday, government will hold a national thanksgiving prayer service at Kololo Independence Grounds after which the body will be taken for burial at his ancestral home in Itojo, Ntungamo district, on Thursday.