By Desire Ninsiima
Updated at 11:49 GMT on Saturday 09th January, 21
KAMPALA- Former minister Wilberforce Kisamba-Mugerwa passed away on Thursday after a brief battle with COVID-19.
Family sources noted that Mugerwa who was an agricultural economist, politician, academic, and chairman of the Uganda Microfinance Support Centre passed away on Thursday afternoon at Mulago National Referral Hospital after developing breathing complications.
Mugerwa’s last public function was last week at Makerere University. Speaking during the second Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) policy seminar, he called for increased investment in research, extension, water for production, marketing, and processing.
Wilberforce Kisamba-Mugerwa, born 5 July 1945 served as the Chairman of the Uganda Microfinance Support Center, a government-owned company established in 2001, that manages micro credit programs in Uganda, funded by the African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the Ugandan government.
Immediately prior to his last position, for the ten years between 2008 and 2018, he served as the chairman of the National Planning Authority of Uganda.
In 1968 he entered what was then called Makerere College, but is now Makerere University, Uganda’s oldest and largest public university. His chosen field of study was agricultural economics. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree, followed by a Master of Science degree in the subject. Later, he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the same subject, also by Makerere. CareerAfter his first degree, Mugerwa joined Uganda’s civil service system. Starting in 1971, he served as principal agriculture officer for East Mengo, then for the Western Region of Uganda. Later he was promoted to the Principal Agricultural Economist for the entire county.
In 1980, he entered elective Ugandan politics, serving there until his resignation in 2004, when he accepted a job with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), as the Director of IFPRI’s new division, the International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR), based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In 2008, he was named the Chairperson of the newly-created National Planning Authority of Uganda, a position he maintained for the next ten years. While there, he was responsible for the formulation of the Uganda Vision 2040 and the two National Development Plans, (NDP I and NDP II).
In 1980, Mugerwa contested for Member of Parliament, on the Democratic Party (Uganda)political ticket, to represent Luweero South East. He won that contest, despite being shot in the arm at one of his campaign rallies. He served out his term (1980–1985). When the National Resistance Movement took over government in 1986, Kisamba Mugerwa successfully served as the first elected Local Council 5 chairman for Luweero District(1986–1991). He was then elected as Member of Parliament representing Bamunanika County, beginning in 1991.
During the 13-year period from 1991 until 2004, Kisamba Mugerwa served as a member of the Uganda’s cabinet, at different levels, including as Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister of State for Finance and Economic Planning, and as the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries. He resigned to take up an international job outside Uganda in 2004.
Other considerations Mugerwa was at one time a Senior Research Associate with the Makerere Institute of Social Research, at Makerere University, in Kampala. At the time of his death he was Chancellor of Ndejje University, a private Christian university based in Luweero District; his home district. He owned a commercial mixed agricultural farm (crops and domestic animals) at Kikonda Village, Bamunanika Sub-county, Luweero District, in the Buganda Region of Uganda.