Kassami Requiem Mass: Mutebile’s Moving Eulogy

Bank of Uganda Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile on Monday morning gave an emotional speech at the Requiem Mass for the departed former Secretary of Treasury, case ailment Christopher Kassami, erectile mind describing the deceased as a “champion of transparency and accountability.”

The memorial ceremony was held at Rubaga Cathedral in Kampala.

Diplomatic corps, ministers, bankers among other eminent people joined Kassami’s family and to pay their last respects.

Speaker after speaker praised Kassami as a professional and hardworking technocrat.

Kassami passed away last week at Nairobi Hospital.

Below is Mutebile’s moving speech in full:

In the passing of Chris, the nation has lost a son who devoted his entire career to the service of his people.

‘Quiet as the breeze’, Chris has been taken from us during a sweltering season, when the calming comfort of his disposition was most needed.

I call him Chris because formality has no place among friends; especially friends of many long years. I have known Chris since the early 1980s when our paths were joined during my tenure of service as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Planning.

Later he became my most trusted Deputy while I served as the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development.

He ultimately succeeded me at the Ministry when I was first appointed Governor of the Bank of Uganda in 2001. It was reassuring to see him take the mantle of leadership of the technical ranks of the Ministry.

Fortunately for the both of us, Chris joined the Board of Directors of the Bank of Uganda at the same time as I became Governor.

Working together for long strengthened our professional bond. We depended on each other in a special kind of brotherhood.

Going beyond mere workmates, we became friends; we are family! Together, we became stronger, for as the poet Tecumseh observed, ‘although a single twig will break, a bundle of twigs is strong’. Chris has been a pivotal part of the teams that I have had the privilege to serve with during my career in economic and financial policy making.

During his service on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Uganda, I have benefited from Chris’s steady hand in steering the Human Resources Remuneration and Compensation Committee, which he chaired.

Chris championed a team of staff that is of such a high quality in terms of competence and integrity as befits a leading central bank.

He sought to attract staff of the highest professional potential, training them to be the best that they can be; and retaining them through remuneration packages that reflect the value attached to their work.

He was also a member of the Audit and Governance Committee, and the Finance Committee of the Board.

Chris distinguished himself among the members of the central bank Board as a champion of transparency and accountability.

He embraced the view that it is through being transparent and accountable that unelected central bankers earn the respect of the people.

This is especially so, when we establish a track-record of being good stewards of public finance and build a reputation of unimpeachable integrity.

He motivated us to heed the words of the reigning Queen of England, who during the 40th anniversary of her Accession to the throne, in the annus horribilis speech of November 1992, asserted that,

“No institution – City, Monarchy, whatever – should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t.”

In this way, Chris was a champion of central bank independence par excellence. The members of the Board and I will miss Chris’s knowledgeable participation as well as his keen sense of discernment during our deliberations.

He contributed considerably to the Bank’s pursuit of its role, which may be summarised as fostering price stability and a sound financial system.

Yet, I am certain that Mrs. Kassami and the family will miss him more. Going on without him is going to be hard and painful. You and, indeed, all of us will wonder, why him? But remember, we all have his legacy in our hearts, our memories, and even our institutions.

The fruits of his work and the example of his life will inspire us and urge us to build the sort of family and institutions that he will look down at, and be proud.

Let us all celebrate his life and use his legacy to bring out the better angels of our nature.

He will live on in the hearts and minds of a grateful family, a grateful central bank, a grateful civil service, and a grateful nation.

To you, Chris, fare thee well my friend; ‘til we meet again!


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