Parliament has paid tribute to two of its former members, the former Second Deputy Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Kirunda Kivejinja and former Kyotera District Woman Representative, Hon Robinah Ssentongo who both succumbed to COVID-19 last year.
The motions to honour the two fallen legislators were moved by the First Deputy Prime Minister, Gen Moses Ali at a special of Parliament on Tueday, 02 February 2021. The sitting was chaired by the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga.
Gen Moses Ali described the late Kivejinja as diligent and bipartisan leader and a strong Pan-Africanist.
“He served Uganda meticulously in different capacities and his contribution cannot be underestimated,” he said.
Kivejinja whose political career spanned over 35 years was hailed for having fostered national unity and education in a distinguished manner.
“The late Kivejinja was an advocate of national unity and he leaves us with an example for emulation in these times when unity is much needed” said Buliisa County MP, Hon Stephen Mukitale.
Mukitale described the late as a politician who had national interests at heart as opposed to fostering his party interests alone.
“Whenever he would be on the floor of Parliament, he did not care only for the party he belonged to, he looked at the bigger picture.” said Mukitale.
The State Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Hon Moses Kizige praised the late Kivejinja for inspiring Muslims to send children to school, a practice he said was rare in the past .
He added that Kivejinja’s passion for education saw him lobby for graduate scholarships for over 600 students. Kizige told legislators that Kivejinja was instrumental in the establishment of Islamic University in Uganda and construction of over 100 schools.
Speaker Kadaga chaired the special sitting of Parliament
Bugiri Municipality MP, Hon Asuman Basalirwa said an icon like Kirunda KIvejinja who has served government for a long time deserved a send of honour which he said did not happen.
“It was disappointing to witness that government did not take care of his send-off. The tents were provided by Hon Abdu Katuntu and there was no food at the function.” said Basalirwa.
He urged Gen Moses Ali to bring the matter to the attention of the President and see to it that Kivejinja’s family is consoled.
In the motion to honour Hon Ssentongo, Gen Moses Ali said that she wass credited for having pioneered a home-based care model for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and a strong advocate for people affected by the disease.
“We do appreciate her services and dedication towards the fight against the HIV/AIDS scourge in her home area of Kyotera and Masaka as well as the country at large,” he said.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon Betty Aol Ocan said Hon. Ssentongo used her position in society to support others.
“She was vocal on matters concerning the Buganda Kingdom and the Catholic Church; she was also a strong pillar in supporting the youth and elderly through her fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Aol Ocan.
She appealed to the government to subsidize the cost for taking COVID-19 tests across the country to allow people to test and treat themselves before they are terribly affected by the disease.
Hon. Bernard Atiku (Ind. Ayivu County) said that Hon. Ssentongo and her family members’ deaths from the virus should be cajole the public out of its lackluster approach towards the pandemic.
“This is a sign that we should take this disease seriously because it has, without restraint, taken the lives of resourceful people in the country; let us be careful and protect ourselves as much as possible from COVID-19,” he added.
The Speaker urged the government to honour Hon. Ssentongo by kick starting the HIV/AIDS Trust Fund as proposed by Parliament.