Hundreds of mourners on Sunday thronged Kibuzigye Village in Bubaare Sub County, Rubanda district to see off the fallen Vice chairman of the National Planning Authority Dr Julian Abel Rwendeire.
Mourner after mourner at the requiem service held for the deceased at Kibuzigye Primary School in Bubaare Sub County described him as an educationalist, non-sectarian, nationalist who strived to make Uganda a better place.
Addressing mourners, Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda hailed the deceased for being a patriot through his lifetime.
Rugunda said that Rwendeire was essential in uniting Kigezi people and cherished service above self.
“There used to be a lot of religious sectarianism in this region but Rwendeire helped us in having it resolved. We shall miss his wisdom,” said Rugunda.
President Museveni offered a state burial arrangement and according to Rugunda, Parliament of Uganda will pay tribute to the deceased as soon as it resumes from recess.
Mercy Rwendeire, the widow, eulogized her husband as a loving man who encouraged girl-child education.
“My husband was serious about educating his daughters. They all have degrees and he has been encouraging them to pursue more studies,” she said.
The widow went to explain the sudden death of her husband which she said left the family in shock.
“He died in a very shocking way. We were watching television together when he told me that the pain in his chest was increasing. I then realized that he was unable to talk, and we called our neighbours who assisted us take him to hospital. The doctors told us on arrival that he was already dead,” she said.
The widow revealed that before his demise, Dr Rwendeire had been out of the country for three weeks in London and when he returned on Sunday it was his birthday. She said he took the family out but kept complaining of pain in the left side of his chest, which kept growing until Thursday when he passed. Doctors concluded that he succumbed to heart disease.
Joseph Muvawala, the Managing Director National Planning Authority described the death of Dr Rwendeire as a big blow to the country. He noted that the deceased was on the team that the country was to use in developing science programs such as the nuclear energy.
The deceased joined National Planning Authority in July 2008 following his four-year tenure as a Managing Director at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, (UNIDO).
He has also been chairing a visitation committee probing Makerere University mismanagement. The committee which was appointed on November 15, 2016 had finished its report and has been awaiting an appointment to hand it over to President Yoweri Museveni.
President Museveni this weekend revealed that the handover was slated for this starting week.
Rwendeire also served as Member of Parliament representing Rubanda East constituency, formerly in Kabale District and now in Rubanda District, from 1996 to 2001.
He was also in cabinet as Minister of State for Tourism, Trade and Industry; and Minister of State for Higher Education.
He left behind six daughters, three sons in law and four grandchildren.