Former BoU Governor Suleiman Kiggundu Dies

Comments 11498 Views Kampala, Uganda
The former Governor of the Bank of Uganda, Sulaiman Kiggundu has died. Kiggundu passed away this afternoon at the Wits University Donald Gordon Medical Center in Johannesburg, South Africa after suffering intestinal complications. Kiggundu, who was the Forum for Democratic Change National Chairperson, had been admitted at the Medical Center since April after an operation on his intestines last year. At a news conference at the FDC headquarters in Kampala this evening, the party Vice President Sam Njuba, said all party flags will fly at half mast in mourning for Kiggundu's death. Njuba said the FDC is overwhelmed by the loss of the economist and politician who he described as a pillar of the party. Njuba, who met Kiggundu in 1969, said he was a freedom fighter who defended democracy with his life. Suleiman Kiggundu was a founder member of the external wing of the National Resistance Movement. At the time the liberation war was fought by troops led by President Yoweri Museveni, Kiggundu was a lecturer in economics at the University of Nairobi. He actively mobilized supporters outside Uganda to finance the liberation movement. When Museveni came to power in 1986, Kiggundu, who has a Doctorate in Economics, was appointed Governor of Bank of Uganda where he served for four years. After a fall out with government Kiggundu joined hands with a conglomerate called First Islamic Bank (FIBA) to establish Greenland Bank. Although he was not a direct shareholder in the bank, Kiggundu was appointed Chief Executive of the fast growing Greenland Bank because of his reputation as head of the Bank of Uganda. In 1998 Kiggundu was removed as Chief Executive of Greenland Bank and the bank was closed for insolvency. He became one of the first casualties of a parliamentary probe into the irregular purchase of Uganda Commercial Bank by President Museveni's brother Salim Saleh and a Malaysian company called Westmont Limited. Kiggundu insisted that he was innocent throughout the entire inquiry claiming that Museveni, working through Salim Saleh, okayed the fraudulent deal to approve the sale of Uganda Commercial Bank to Westmont. In 1999 he established Kampala University and was appointed Chancellor of Nkumba University to restart his career in the academia, but his financial woes caught up with him and in 2002 he was jailed for six months in Luzira Prison for defaulting on a 600 million-shilling loan. This did little to send Suleiman Kiggundu into hiding and after his release from prison, he returned to the public eye, actively engaging in politics. Alice Alaso, the Soroti Woman Member of Parliament, said Kiggundu was a courageous great leader who braved unfair charges and tear gas to uphold his integrity and to stand up for the rights of others. She said he inspired many people, particularly those in the political opposition. Speaking at today's FDC news conference, Asanasius Rutaro the party secretary for welfare and discipline said he was in Makerere University at the same time as Kiggundu. He recalled that the former bank manager started his defence of democracy in his student days, leading a demonstration against the regime of President Milton Obote when he stormed the Lubiri and abrogated the constitution in 1966. Youth in the FDC also hailed Kiggundu's contribution to the party and to the country. Ibrahim Kasozi said that despite Kiggundu's age and distinction, he opened his home to the youth and readily offered them guidance. He said Kiggundu was a mentor for the youth and his death leaves them with a challenge to stand for the principles he upheld. Suleiman Kiggundu was one of Uganda's most notable economics, with a Master of Arts in Mathematical Economics and a Master of Science in Development Economics in addition to his PhD. In the early 1990s he was an active advocate for the establishment of common markets in developing countries as a way to give them a competitive edge in international trade. Kiggundu is survived by two widows and a large number of children. At the time of his death he was involved in business consultancy, running his own firm out of his home in Naguru.