Cecilia Barbara Atim Ogwal, has described the late Yonasani Kanyomozi as ‘a proactive freedom fighter, skillful and strategic thinker’ who played a critical role in Uganda’s politics.
Kanyomozo passed away on Sunday, August 28th, 2022 at around 5:00 pm at Nakasero Hospital in Kampala. In a phone interview with URN on Monday, Ogwal said that she knew the late Kanyomozi when they were both living in exile in Nairobi around 1975.
At the time, Kanyomozi and I coordinated the Organisation of African Unity-OAU Heads of State summit conference in Kampala that was conducted between July 28th and August 1st, 1975, where he sneaked documents about the excesses of Idi Amin’s government to member states,” said Ogwal.
She explained that such sensitive documents that Kanyomozi shared with the OAU members later would become helpful in the liberation struggle to overthrow Amin and his despotic régime and usher in the Uganda People’s Congress—UPC Government under Obote II. Ogwal revealed that Kanyomozi was a very professional economist who understood his field.
He was very important in bringing back multiparty democracy in Uganda through an alliance between the UPC and the Democratic Party (DP). This ended the one-party system that had been in place since 1986, when President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was in charge of the National Resistance Army (NRA).
Ogwal also said that Kanyomozi worked selflessly with other UPC leaders like Livingstone Okello, Dr. Okullu Epak (RIP), Abenego Ongom (RIP), Abdul Katuntu, Patrick Muwonda, and Benedict Mutyaba, among others, to form a coalition during the Constituent Assembly—CA to campaign for Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere against President Museveni in the 1996 general elections.
Ogwal, 76, also recalled that Kanyomozi played a critical role as a uniting factor in Western Uganda that shaped the ideological framework of the Reform Agenda that transitioned to the Forum for Democratic Change—FDC party. This made it necessary for members of the 7th Parliament to vote for him to be a member of the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) from 2001 to 2006.
Samuel Oduny, an elder in Gulu City, told URN that he knew Kanyomozi as ‘a soft-spoken and quiet leader’ who served as the former Minister for Cooperatives and Marketing in the Obote II Government with such an exemplary portfolio.
Oduny also recounts that the late Kanyomozi pioneered the revival of cooperatives that had become inactive during the eight years of Amin’s tyrannical rule. The person who died was a member of Parliament for Bushenyi South in the early 1980s. Later, from 1989 to 1996, he was a member of the National Resistance Council for Kajara County.
A tentative funeral programme issued by the family that URN has seen indicates that an official vigil will be conducted at his Sserunkuma Road-based residence in Mbuya Hill on Tuesday, August 30th, 2022. It will be followed by a funeral service at All Saints Cathedral, Nakasero, on Wednesday, August 31st, 2022, at 10:00 am.
The body will then be transported to his upcountry home in Rwashamaire, Kajara in Ntungamo District, where he will be buried on Friday, September 12th, 2022.