Oct 14, 2008
Nsibambi hails Kibirige
By Francis Kagolo and Moses Mulondo
UGANDA, The New Vision - Kampala, Oct. 14, 2008
The cassava improved the capacity of Ugandans to increase their food security,” Nsibambi, who spoke on behalf of the Government, pointed out. ...
Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi has commended former agriculture minister Kibirige Ssebunya for his exceptional research and development initiatives. Kibirige succumbed to cancer last Wednesday at Mulago Hospital. Speaking during a funeral service at the packed Namirembe Cathedral yesterday, Nsibambi said Kibirige would be remembered for discovering clonal coffee, introducing palm oil cultivation on Ssese Islands, and having led the research team that produced mosaic-resistant cassava varieties.
“The clonal coffee he initiated is a high-yielding variety which has earned Ugandans foreign exchange and homestead incomes. The cassava improved the capacity of Ugandans to increase their food security,” Nsibambi, who spoke on behalf of the Government, pointed out.
He hailed Ssebunya for demystifying the perception that highly educated people cannot make good political leaders. “Although he was a staunch NRM supporter, Kibirige did not discriminate against people of other political parties. Indeed, in being gregarious, he shared local brew with ordinary people.”
The Prime Minister called the deceased a humble and accessible man. “He rejected constructing a fence and a gate at his residence in order to enable members of his constituency access him readily. He also rejected being guarded by Police men, arguing that he did not wish to be protected against the people who loved him dearly.”
The Kabaka (king) of Buganda, Ronald Mutebi, hailed Kibirige for having demonstrated that a Muganda politician can serve the central Government and remain committed to his kingdom. “Kibirige has been our great friend. He has been very helpful to us, especially on matters concerning the kingdom’s agricultural programmes,” the Kabaka said in a speech read by Edward Lutaya Mukomazi, the kingdom’s agriculture minister.
George Ssenabulya, the retired bishop of West Buganda, who led the service, hailed Kibirige for having been a man of wisdom and encouragement.
NRM secretary general Amama Mbabazi described Kibirige as hardworking and exemplary in NRM. “He did not entertain nonsense, even in the party.”
Other dignitaries at the service included deputy chief justice Laetitia Kikonyogo, agriculture minister Hilary Onek, gender minister Syda Bumba, state ministers and MPs.