Remembering Ssebaana Kizito: In His Own Words Top story

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In short
John Ssebaana Kizito has been a member of the Democratic Party since 1963 and beat the odds in 2005 to become the first non-Catholic politician to head the party. A year later, he contested for the presidency of Uganda as a DP candidate.

As the country mourns veteran politician John Ssebaana Kizito, his own words serve as a powerful testimony to his life and legacy.

Ssebaana has been a member of the Democratic Party since 1963 and beat the odds in 2005 to become the first non-Catholic politician to head the party. A year later, he contested for the presidency of Uganda as a DP candidate.

He has lived to the values of truth and Justice and no violence, the ideals that define Uganda's oldest political party. He believed in playing politics which was free of violence. He knew that DP was a party of intellectuals who used their heads rather than their hands.

In a 2012 interview with Uganda Radio Network, the politician cum businessman shared his political journey spanning more than five decades. He explains how he ended up in DP, a party he served till his death on Monday, aged 83.

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He always tried to clarify on the fact that while the party was founded by Catholics, it didn't mean it was for only Catholics.
 
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Ssebaana, and his compatriot, Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere, were in 1980 blamed for having legitimised the Uganda People's Congress (UPC) government when they accepted to join parliament after the controversial general elections that year. Ssemwogerere went on to serve as leader of opposition while Ssebaana was in the Shadow Cabinet. It was then widely accepted that UPC had rigged the elections.

While Yoweri Museveni headed to Luweero Triangle to fight the Obote regime for having rigged the 1980 elections believed to have been won by DP, Ssebaana chose to join that Parliament to represent Kampala South. Until his death, Ssebaana did not regret the move.
 
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So for Ssebaana, it mattered a lot if he remained loyal to DP provided he and other members would contribute to the country's democracy through nonviolent means.

At the time of this interview, Ssebaana believed DP has contributed to democracy in Uganda.
 
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Ssebaana and his Democratic Party had worked with Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Movement government from 1986 until the 1996 elections where Ssemwogerere contested against Museveni as an opposition coalition candidate.

Political parties were banned. But Ssebaana and colleagues in DP chose using courts of law to push for the return to multiparty politics. He was one of the architects of the catch-phrase "Using your Brain not arms to fight"
 
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So how would John Ssebaana Kizito want to be remembered for?
 
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That is John Ssebaana Kizito, a politician, legislator and businessman who also served as Mayor of Kampala between 1999 and 2006. He will be laid to rest on Saturday at Mpande-Kalule in Luweero district.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.