His brother Geoffrey Murari, said Rutehenda succumbed to Bronchopneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs. In his condolences message, Museveni revealed that he walked a long journey with the deceased right from their school days at Mbarara High school and Ntare School.
The coffin containing Rutehenda's Remains
President Yoweri Museveni has described the late former Mbarara Municipal mayor, Lay Canon Robert Rutehenda as a gallant Soldier. This was contained in the president's message read by the Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Minister, Ephraim Kamuntu at the burial of Rutehenda at his ancestral home in Nyakigando in Ibanda district on Monday.
Rutehenda 76, died on Friday last week at Nakasero hospital, Kampala where he had been admitted for a week. His brother Geoffrey Murari, said Rutehenda succumbed to Bronchopneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs. In his condolences message, Museveni revealed that he walked a long journey with the deceased right from their school days at Mbarara High school and Ntare School. He explained that the deceased remained a loyal cadre up to his death.
"The government and people have lost a senior citizen, NRM has lost a gallant soldier and a good leader" read the president's message. He hailed the late Rutehenda for helping in the National Resistance Army-NRA bush war struggle, which ushered the NRM government into power. Speaking at the same funeral, the Karamoja Affairs Minister, Engineer John Byabagambi, observed that the deceased dedicated his time to helping others and also ensuring that the ruling National Resistance Movement remains strong in the district.
The deceased's widow, Victoria Rutehenda used the burial ceremony to demand for a meeting with the president. She explained that her husband had three wishes not to suffer before his death, not to be flown overseas for treatment and to die as a member of NRM.
He was born in Mbarara on November 11, 1942 to the late Edward and Keroyi Rutehenda. He joined Mbarara Junior School, Ibanda boys, Ruyonza primary school in Bushenyi and later joined Mbarara High School and St. Leo's Kyegobe in Kabarole district.
Rutehenda later joined politics and was elected Mbarara mayor where he served for 15 years. He was replaced by Wilson Tumwiine. Rutehenda also served as the Ibanda District National Resistance Movement-NRM party Chairman.
The deceased has also been the head of the laity for Nyabuhikye archdeaconry Northwest Ankole diocese, member of the finance committee for both the archdeaconry and diocese, chairman board of governors Muko vocational institute, a board member at Ibanda Kibubura integrated primary school and member of Ibanda district farmers association among others.
Rutehenda is survived by a widow and seven children.