Kategaya's Body Arrives

2153 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The body of First Deputy Prime Minister Eriya Kategaya has arrived in the country, two days after his death in Nairobi on Saturday.

The body of First Deputy Prime Minister Eriya Kategaya has arrived in the country, two days after his death in Nairobi on Saturday.
 
At Entebbe Air Force Base, the body of the 67-year-old long serving politician was received by Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister for Presidency. It was accompanied from Nairobi by the deceased’s wife, Diana, among other family members. Others present in Entebbe to receive the body were Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, Inspector General of Police Lt General Kale Kayihura among others.
 
The national anthem was sung by the Uganda Police Band before a parade was held in honor of the deceased.
 
Earlier in Nairobi, presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta was among top officials who saw off the body as it was being airlifted to Uganda.
 
On Sunday, President Mwai Kibaki, who is expected to retire after today’s presidential elections, described the late Kategaya as forthright, well respected, humble, consensus builder and a man of outstanding ability.
 
Kategaya, also Minister for East African Community Affairs, died on Saturday evening in a Nairobi hospital where he had been admitted for over a month. The cause of death was reported as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition that presents with blood clot.
 
Information Minister Karooro Okurut released a burial programme for the veteran politician and activist. According to the programme, Parliament will convene on Tuesday afternoon to pay tribute to Kategaya following public viewing of the body earlier in the day.
 
After a requiem mass at All Saints Cathedral, Nakasero on Wednesday, the body will be transported to Itojo in Ntungamo district for burial on Thursday.
 
A long time friend of President Yoweri Museveni, Kategaya was born in July 1945 in Kyamate, Ntungamo district, the same area where Museveni was born a year earlier. The two went to the same primary school, Ntare School for secondary education and Dar es Salaam University for their tertiary education.
 
Done with university in 1970, the two teamed up with other young activists three years later to form the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), an underground militant force to fight the Iddi Amin government. Fronasa was to work with other Ugandan exile groups in Tanzania to form the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) to launch a war that overthrew Amin in April 1979.

When the NRA captured power in January 1986, Museveni appointed Kategaya the National Political Commissar, a position that was seen as defacto number two after that of the president. Kategaya’s role as Chief Ideologue of the new government was to promote and popularize the Movement ideals across the country.

Since Museveni had no vice president until 1990 preferring to work with Dr Samson Kisekka as Prime Minister, Kategaya’s position was all important. Kisekka was in 1990 appointed vice president until 1994 when he was dropped.   Kategaya went on to serve as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for foreign affairs, minister for internal affairs and now Minister for East African Affairs.

He was also in Parliament representing Rwampara County, first as a Member of the National Resistance Council (NRC) from 1986 to 1993, a Constituent Assembly (CA) Delegate from 1994 to 1996 and as MP from 1996 to 2001. As CA delegate, Kategaya participated in the making of the 1995 constitution, the same law he would later stand to defend leading to a fall-out with his childhood friend, President Museveni.

Kategaya would later cause a stir with that famous fall-out with President Yoweri Museveni in March 2003, over maneuvers by the latter to amend the constitution and cling to power.   

Kategaya's public opposition to this earned him respect as a leader with principles and true to ideals.

But his U-turn three years later and a return to the “NRM fold” reduced him to just another politician who viewed politics not as a service but as a career.  

He also became an author in 2006 when his book,Impassioned for Freedom, a 132-page autobiography, was published.