Opposition Forum for Democratic Changeâ€”FDC party officials say they have lost a unifier, gallant fighter and a great pillar in Sam Kalega Njuba. Njuba, the FDC National Chairman died on Friday at Nsambya Hospital where he had been admitted for several months. The officials say Njuba, 72, was very influential at all levels and organs of the party.
Njuba, the FDC National Chairman died on Friday at Nsambya Hospital where he had been admitted for several months. The officials say Njuba, 72, was very influential at all levels and organs of the party.
FDC spokesperson Wafula Oguttu tells Uganda Radio Network that the late Njuba had been undergoing treatment at Nsambya Hospital for probable cancer, and that he underwent intestinal surgery four months ago.
Oguttu described Njuba’s death as a great loss to the party adding that the former legislator, justice minister and lawyer was the man everyone in the party went to for guidance. Party officials in the past few weeks were confident his health had improved since he had resumed work at his private office in Uganda House.
Alice Alaso, the FDC secretary general, says Njuba’s death comes at a time when the party is recovering from the post-election crisis and members were looking up to him as a unifying factor. She describes him as the voice of authority who would speak and the rest listened due to his wise guidance and counsel.
She reveals that last week the party’s top management passed a strategic plan spearheaded by Njuba. The party secretary general adds that the National Chairman was among the leaders who had seen it all considering his political background as a former member of the ruling National Resistance Movement. This enabled FDC party members to draw past political experience from him and encouraged them to look forward as a party.
Alaso states that Njuba was the convergence point of all party organs right from the top management to the grassroots and all decisions would be validated by him before being adopted.
As the party struggled to unite its leader Mugisha Muntu and leader of opposition Nandala Mafabi, Njuba organised a dinner to unite the warring parties on December 12, 2013, just weeks after the acrimonious election.
Alaso says all that Njuba emphasized was that all he wanted was cohesion and unity for all party members to know that the party is bigger than all of them.
The party was expected to mark eight years of its existence with a dinner on Monday next week, but Alaso says it has been called off until their chairman is laid to rest. The party top management held an emergency meeting on Friday night in which they agreed to liaise with Njuba’s family and plan for the funeral arrangements.
Geoffrey Ekanya, Tororo Municipality MP, wants Njuba to be remembered as a leader who did not compromise values for short term gains and a calm gentleman who enjoyed dialogue. According to Ekanya, ever since the Reform Agenda time in 2001, Njuba hated confrontations, preached peace and believed that anything was possible provided you take one step.
While others said it was impossible to change the regime without violence he insisted that it can only be made possible through awareness and not military force.
Jack Sabiti, the FDC party treasurer general, recalls Njuba as a patient man ever since their political times during Uganda Patriotic Movement in the 1980s and the formation of FDC in 2005. He describes him as very analytical, had love for everyone and whose advice would never be disregarded. Sabiti says Njuba wanted all leaders in FDC to be involved in building party unity irrespective of their differences.
Njuba was a founding member of the FDC between 2004 and 2005 though Salaamu Musumba was asked to lead the party until the return of Dr. Kiiza Besigye from exile in South Africa. He became FDC chairperson after the death of Dr Sulaiman Kiggundu.
He served as Minister of State for Constitutional Affairs between 1986 and 1994 and helped in the drafting of the 1995 constitution. His political career includes being secretary of the National Resistance Movement external committee, member of National Resistance Council, a member of the Constitutional Assembly, MP Kyadondo East from 1996-2001 and again 2006 to 2011.