Otada asks M7 Not to Stand Again In honour of his childhood friend
The Deputy speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has applauded the late Eriya Kategaya’s contribution to the East African Community especially on the issue of regional integration.
During a special sitting of Parliament to eulogise Kategaya, who died on Saturday at the age of 67, Oulanyah highlighted the veteran politician’s virtues of wisdom, cool temperament, humility and a permanent smile.
Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who worked with Kategaya in the external wing of the National Resistance Movement during the Luweero Bush War, described him as a man of integrity, nationalist, true patriot and clean politician.
Margaret Nantongo Zziwa, the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly has described the late First Deputy Prime Minister as a frank and non-alarmist leader. Zziwa recalled that during the 2008 post-election violence in Kenya when Ugandan businessmen lost their property, roads were closed amidst allegations that Uganda had sent troops to prop up President Mwai Kibaki.
Uganda is alleged to have violated Kenyan sovereignty by allowing its troops to enter Kenya with guns. Zziwa adds that Kategaya stood before the East African Parliament and argued that to Ugandans the road from Mombasa through Malaba is our lifeline.
Kategaya stated that if there was no government in Kenya at the time to defend the lifeline then Uganda would stand up and defend it.
On Migingo, the tiny rocky island on Lake Victoria both Kenya and Uganda claim to own, Zziwa recalls that it was Kategaya’s comical comments that calmed the parties. He reportedly said that if there is no marked border, it means the land belongs to Uganda, and the fish belongs to Kenya and vice versa.
Kategeya’s body lay in state this morning as foreign dignitaries, friends and relatives paid their last respects. The special sitting of Parliament is still ongoing.
A honorary Brigadier in the Ugandan army Kategaya’s body dressed in a black suit, white shirt and red tie was guarded by four brigadiers with police brass band playing music in the background.
Among those who paid their last respects was former Premier Apollo Nsibambi who said Uganda has lost a man of integrity, despite the many demands placed on him.
Augustine Ruzindana, a close friend of Kategaya for almost 50 years, describes him as a person who has been consistent with his principles. Ruzindana says that by not amassing wealth as a public servant, Kategaya was not showing weakness but selflessness.
Kategaya was born in July 1945 in Itojo, Ntungamo district and trained as a lawyer at Dar es Salaam University. He teamed up with his friend Yoweri Museveni to form the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) in 1973 to fight President Idi Amin’s rule and was around during the formation of the Uganda Patriotic Movement, a Marxist political party with Museveni as its chairman.
He participated in the 1981-85 civil war commonly known as Luweero Bush War that brought President Museveni to power in January 1986.
By the time of his death, Kategaya had served in several ministerial positions including foreign affairs, internal affairs, East African Community Affairs and also as National Political Commissar of the National Resistance Movement Party.
He will be buried on Thursday at his ancestral home in Ntungamo district