A cross-section of Ugandan’s continues to pay glowing tribute to Med Kaggwa,
the Uganda Human Rights Commission Chair following his death.
Kaggwa, who has
been at the helm of the Commission suffered a sudden death early on Wednesday morning
while driving to office. He is suspected to have suffered a cardiac attack.
At his office, the Commissioners and members of staff were saddened by
the demise of “good man” who treated all equally and dignity.
Med Kaggwa said to have officiated at a human rights monitoring and
evaluation mission in Luwero on Tuesday.
He was expected to attend a child
rights symposium at UNICEF country office in Kampala.
Dr. Amooti Katabalirwe, one of the Commissioners at the Uganda Human Rights Commission
confirmed that the late was found unconscious in his official car.
Katabalirwe said the late was later rushed to CASE medical centre where he was pronounced dead. He said Med Kaggwa has been normally driving
himself to the office for most of the period he has been the Chair of the
country’s human rights body.
Tribute from Commission's staff
Victoria Rusoke has spent about a year at the
Commission and worked under Med Kaggwa’s supervision. She says the late was a
very competent manager, “Causing results and not forcing results because he was
exemplary. He was a role model”
Kaggwa has been known for always being early at
the office. He had been true to this virtue until the time of his demise.
//Cue in; “If you heard the statement of the time he collapsed. 7:30 he
was almost reaching here. Very organized, a very good communicator, a very good
supervisor, very accountable, disciplined, a country has lost a person who will
be very rare to replace” //
Meddie Mulumba was one of the first Commissioners to
rush to CASE hospital only to find his boss lifeless. “It was so saddening to
see a person who was full of life just yesterday to be dead today.”
Mulumba remembers Kaggwa for his simplicity and kindness
“He was always a jovial person; he was always giving hope even when there was
no hope. He was a great person to work with”
Joan Kampe Wasswa, has served under Kaggwa as the Head
of Human Resources unit. She says Kaggwa represented “grace, dignity and respect”
She recalls her time in the Commission under Kaggwa
saying he will be missed because he was quite approachable.
“He was a parent,
he took each staff at their own level and was very accommodative of each situation.
He was one person that fathered everybody. He always urged us to be developmental
Med Kaggwa had power and privilege at his disposal
having served as a legislator and later head of the Uganda Human Rights Commission
from April 2009untill his death.
Some questions emerged following reports
confirming his death. Why was he driving himself to Office? Why didn’t he have
police or army escorts given his status?
Joan Kampe Waswa explained that the late had chosen
to live a simple but dignified life. “At one time he had share and said it made
him very comfortable. And it made him associate with everyone. He just enjoyed
///Cue in “He told us one time that he didn’t see
the reason why he would be guarded or why it became so difficult for someone to
reach him. He was just like that. He was a simple man. A very simple man. So he
asked his driver to meet him at the office. Just like what was supposed to
happen this morning. And he was not guarded.”//
Med Kaggwa succeeded Margret Sekaggya to become the
second chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission. He, like Margaret Sekaggya,
rose to serve other international human rights bodies outside Uganda.
In December 2016 he was
unanimously elected as Chairperson to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s
Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of Organisation of Islamic
He between 2012 -2016
served as special
Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing
in Africa -African Commission for Human
and People’s Rights.
was Commissioner on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
(ACHPR) between 2011 –
from Geneva on phone, Margret Sekaggya said Kaggwa was dedicated to his work of
pushing fort human rights forward.
Kaggwa’s contribution will be greatly missed especially as the country prepares
for the next general election. “It would have been very vital for him to be around
especially when we are going to the next election. It is a big blow to the
human rights Community” said Sekaggya
said Kaggwa will be remembered as a timekeeper, as a very dedicated person to whatever
Kaggwa has been the Vice-Chairperson of the national
Initiative for Civic Education where he would still continue to push his
constitutional role as a civic educator.
Crispin Kaheru, the Secretary of the National
Initiative for Civic Education said Kaggwa always wished that citizens are enlightened
about the political processes and are heavily engaged.
“He was a very candid
guy I would say. He always said the truth without mincing words. And this was
heavily depicted in his human rights reports that he authored every year” said
// Cue in “He didn’t fear to say the truth where
it mattered most. But he also had a virtue that he interacted with everybody.
And respected each and everybody’s opinion. And that is why he would very comfortably
interact with members of the ruling party but also interact with members of the opposition who are at times victims of human rights violations”//
over police brutality
Kaggwa’s leadership at Uganda Human Rights Commission
was not free of criticism especially from those that felt he and his Commission
had not prevailed on police and UPDF officers openly engaged in human rights
abuses especially torture.
Some of the criticism came from Lawyer, Karoli
Ssemogerere who in 2018 wrote a newspaper column questioning whether Uganda
Human Rights Commission had reduced itself to a mere advisory body.
Sheila Muwanga, the Acting Executive
Director of Foundations For Human rights Initiative says the late Kaggwa did his best as the Chairperson of the commission.
Muwanga, also the Vice President at International Federation
for Human Rights said Parliament and the Executive bare
the blame for having not implemented or debated most of the annual reports
authored by Kaggwa and his team.
“He raised issues in Parliament, he raised issues during
tribunals. He raised issues around the human rights record of the state. So Med
did his part.” Said Muwanga
Sheila Kawamara was with Med Kaggwa at the East
Africa Legislative Assembly between 2003-2006. She agrees with Muwanga that Med
Kaggwa may have been let down by Parliament and the Executive in as far as
enforcing sanctions against human rights abuse.
“The Human Rights Commission has a mandate to
perform and it has where it stops. It can point out and caution government but
it cannot go out to stop human rights abuses by the Uganda police and the army”
Miria Matembe and Med Kaggwa were Commissioners of
the Uganda Constitutional Commission. Kaggwa was in
charge of publicity and Chairperson for Kawempe Division and later in charge of
publicity on hearings on Constitutional and Human Rights issues.
She, in an interview, said the country has suffered a
great loss saying Med was a “man of conscience” who “fought tirelessly” for the people
of Uganda while collecting views later to be debated at the Constituent Assembly.
Matembe and Kaggwa were also members of the Constituent Assembly
and later appointed to cabinet. Kaggwa was Minister of State in Charge of Political Affairs - Office of the President.
//Cue In; “Certainly I will miss him...
Cue Out gone so early.”//
Kaggwa died at the time when the Human Rights
Committee in Parliament had just finished wiring a report about abuse in safe
houses operated by the military and intelligence services.
He held a Master of Laws Degree (LL.M) from the National University of
Ireland (UCD-Belfield), a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B) from Makerere
University, Uganda and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development
Other Career highlights
Member of Parliament
– Kawempe South 1996 – 2001
Member - East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) 2003- 2006
Council Member Makerere
University - 1994 – 1996
Member of the Constituent Assembly –1994 – 1995
Secretary to the Board - Uganda Revenue Authority 1999
Law Lecturer - Law Development Centre - 1982 – 1984