The country has been plunged in a somber mood following the death of distinguished citizen, Dr. Hassan Wasswa Galiwango, 62.
A suave businessman, proven diplomat, clean politician and consistent sports and religious philanthropist, Dr. Galiwango who at the time of death was Uganda’s High Commissioner to Nairobi and Seychelles, breathed his last at Nairobi hospital Monday morning.
His demise was confirmed by the government through the Vice President, Parliament, and the ministries of Foreign Affairs and East African Community Affairs.
“It is with Great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Amb. (Dr) Hassan Galiwango who was serving as our High Commissioner to Kenya, Seychelles and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environment Program and UN HABITAT. He passed on this morning, January 16, 2023 at 7:30am at Nairobi Hospital where he has been undergoing treatment,” read a statement from the ministry of foreign affairs.
Vice President Jessica Alupo , also informed the country about Dr. Galiwango’s death.
“I have received the sad news of the death of H.E Dr. Hassan Galiwango, our Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya. On behalf of @GovUganda, I send our deepest condolences to his family, the NRM party and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. May Allah grant him eternal rest,” she wrote.
Dr. Galiwango was appointed High Commissioner on June 16, 2021 to replace Phibby Otaala. However, the appointment would become controversial when Otaala protested and declined to hand over office on grounds that she had not been recalled. She therefore told Galiwango to go back to the president who had been relieved of his duties aS Finance & Admin Director at the NRM Secretariat to go and sort himself with the president.
Quickly, many observers interpreted Galiwango’s controversial appointment as a punitive move by the President to banish him for having helped his wife Connie Nakayenze Galiwango trounce NRM party flag bearer Lydia Wanyoto for the Mbale woman MP seat. At the time, the Wanyoto faction had labeled the Galiwangos traitors since his wife had sided with anti-age limit removal forces when the amendment came up for voting in the 10th parliament. However, the storm soon subsided when Connie was confirmed winner of the highly violent and contentious election while Galiwango also finally assumed his new office before taking on the Seychelles post as well.
Mega Loss To Busgisu And Uganda
Galiwango’s death has been generally described as a very huge loss to the country, given his immeasurable dedication, charisma and entrepreneurial acumen which turned whatever he laid his hands into gold. It is not surprising that by the time of his death, his success trail is engraved on various sectors including business, politics, sports, academia, and general philanthropy. This essentially makes him a man who has touched thousands of people, some of whom are now eminent Ugandans. In this obituary, our inspectors take a sneak-peek into the life of a man who personified generosity and patriotism.
THE BENEVOLENT ACADEMIC THE COUNTRY WILL MISS
It is impossible to speak about the Late Dr. Galiwango without talking about his contribution to education and academia in this country. Information available shows that before he went into education entrepreneurship with his Progressive secondary schools, Dr. Galiwango was a teacher of African History who later lectured the same at Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) in Mbale. Many believe that this is what shaped Galiwango’s patriotism, which he displayed to his last breath.
While at IUIU, Galiwango teamed up with a host of fellow lecturers whom he then convinced to quit lecturing and start their own private schools under the progressive secondary schools brand.
And indeed, this plan came to fruition, with the same schools being established in Mbale (under Galiwango), Tororo (TOPA- under Imran Muluga), Jinja (JIPA) and in Bweyogerere (under Mr. Kahwa). Critical to note is that while these schools were private entities established to make profits, they all had a very huge element of uplifting needy students and giving them a chance at quality education.
For instance, at Mbale, Galiwango would offer a bursary to a bright but needy student in Chris Obore, who had nearly dropped out from Kachumbala SS in Bukedea district. Another of Galiwango’s beneficiaries included Beata Chelimo, a bright girl but who was on the verge of dropping out of school due to refusal to undergo FGM at her birthplace in Sebei.
Sources say Galiwango took her on and helped her finish school without worrying about the mutilators. She would later join the police where she rose through the ranks to become a member of the prestigious crop of elite Uganda police professionals who included the late Andrew Felix Kaweesi, Simeo Nsubuga and Grace Akullo among others. On his part, Obore became a celebrity investigative journalist which led him to scoop a job as Director, Communication & Public Affairs Parliament of Uganda. In fact, Obore proved Galiwango’s impact on his life when he took to twitter to eulogise his father shortly after news of his death came through.
“Dr. Hassan Wasswa Galiwango, thank you for educating me. Thank you for being a father. Thank you for impacting the lives of many. Thank you for being one of the greatest teachers of African history. Rest well our giant,” Obore tweeted.
And also by extension, another indirect beneficiary of Galiwango’s entrepreneurial acumen was marketing guru Balaam Barugahara, who was given a needy student’s bursary at the Bweyogerere arm of the progressive schools.
RARE POLITICAL BREED
The NRM party also stands to lose Dr. Galiwango’s talents at politics and leadership. This is because Galiwango has been a shrewd but clean political gem, whose mobilization acumen is unmatched. This was largely due to his ‘recklessly’ forgiving heart, which made him a legendary diplomat and peacemaker. Because of these rare qualities, he has been able to end fierce political hostilities in Mbale while he is also credited for continuously supporting the people of Mbale despite being rejected by the same on tribal grounds.
It should be recalled that following the death of former speaker of parliament, James Wapakhabulo in 2004, Galiwango offered himself to replace Wapa in the ensuing by-election which attracted 6 candidates including eventual winner Wanjusi Wasieba. And despite having done so much for the Bagisu, Galiwango got a shock of his life when he was openly decampaigned for being a non-Mugisu, with his detractors saying the seat needed to go to one of their own. And indeed, Galiwango, despite being favoured by the NRM, lost the elections to Wasieba, polling 4349 votes against the latter’s 5238 votes. The same ghosts would come back to haunt him in 2011 when his wife Connie Nakayenze Galiwango stood for the Mbale woman MP seat. Detractors still came up with a slogan that Galiwango had now decided to contest for the seat in a ‘gomesi’; an allusion that his wife was just a shadow of her hubby.
What’s interesting though is that despite this spiteful behavior towards him, Galiwango hated no one, instead offering himself to broker peace between warring Mbale district politicians.
A story is told of a time when Bungokho South MP Michael Werikhe and former Mbale district LC5 chairman Bernard Mujaasi hated each other for over 15 years. This hatred was so entrenched that the Mujaasi faction even refused to attend party meetings which were organized by Werikhe who was the district party chairman.
Sources say that Dr. Galiwango took it upon himself to initiate several reconciliatory meetings and would even chair the party’s district executive meetings due to his neutrality. Galiwango’s efforts finally paid in 2014 when Werikhe and his nemesis finally announced that they had buried the hatchet.
It is said that Galiwango concretized their reconciliation in a symbolic way when he invited president Museveni and together with him they made the two former rivals drink from the same Rwenzori mineral water bottle to prove that there was no more ill-will towards each other.
Sports icon gone
Sports lovers in the country know that they have lost a man who took sports support to another level. Most prominently, Dr. Galiwango leaves a legacy as an astute football administrator, having served as Treasurer of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) during the reign of late FUFA President Denis Obua. There, he made a name for his strictness with finances, a thing which saw him sharply clash with his then boss in 2001. In 2005, a section of Obua loyalists hatched a plot to have Galiwango contest for the FUFA presidency but he opted out to concentrate on his work as an RDC then.
Back in Bugisu, however, Galiwango is credited for having turned Mbale Heroes FC into a very formidable side, which was a nightmare for Kampala soccer giants. Sources told our Inspectors that Mbale Heroes’ shocking win of the 1999 edition of the Uganda Cup (then Kakungulu cup) was largely due to the work of Dr. Glaiwango, who at the time was its Chairman and chief financier. It is said that having found a limping team, Galiwango teamed up with the club’s manager Stephen Wekomba to sell the team and mobilise funds for it in Bugisu and beyond. To realize this, Galiwango at one time made it mandatory for every passenger going through Mbale Taxi Park to pay shs500 which specifically went into the team’s welfare fund. This was on top of arranging friendly matches in neighbouring Kenya, where the team would get hefty sums in friendly matches due to its high brand equity then.
Sources however say that with the team highly self-sustaining with steady incomes, detractors still came up to accuse Galiwango and Wekomba of running a smuggling cartel through these cross-border friendly matches.
Shocked by the wild accusations, Galiwango took a backseat from the team, which made it revert back to minnows status.
But perhaps Galiwango’s most recent contribution to football was when he took it upon himself to offer financial support to Buganda, Bugisu and Busoga provinces in the FUFA Drum tournament. It is said he did this on account of being a Muganda but whose mother is a Musoga while he married and settled in Bugisu.
The Irreplaceable Business Genius And Mentor
Apart from his Progressive schools empire, Galiwango had a string of other businesses but even most enviable was his ability to mentor others to succeed in business. Among those he mentored and opened business fortunes for include Yunus Yusuf Okot of YY Coaches and Budadiri East MP John Sasaga. Our Field Inspectors have gathered that many years ago a young Okot Yunus joined Moroto High School in Karamoja, where he met and became friends with Zubair Galiwango, a younger brother to Dr. Hassan Galiwango and John Lucky Okware, the current owner of Ridar Hotel in Seta, Mukono district.
The three secondary school boys soon established an unbreakable friendship bond bound by their mutual passion for business. It is said that upon completing their O Level, Yunusu followed Galiwango to their home in Mbale. The duo soon joined the thriving onion business, taking them to Soroti from where they would get groundnuts and come and sell them in Mbale. Once they accumulated some money, Yusufu accepted an old taxi vehicle and joined the transport business, plying the Mbale-Kampala route.
While at the Galiwango, Yusufu caught Dr. Galiwango’s eye due to his hard work and trustworthiness. These traits would come in handy when Galiwango was named Mpigi RDC after he was trounced by Wanjusi Wasieba in the 2004 Mbale Municipality by-election to replace late Wapakhabulo. Sources say that upon being posted to Mpigi, Dr. Galiwango found the drivers there locked in protracted wrangles with the taxi park operators. The impasse would lead to the dissolution of the park’s management, upon which it was resolved that the new management be got through bidding. This proved to be Yunusu’s turning point as Galiwango remembered his business acumen and so invited him to bid for the Mpigi Taxi Park tender.
Using Galiwango’s influence, Yusufu got the tender. This opportunity enabled Yunusu to get real financial muscle; so much that he later won the tender to run Mbale Taxi Park. The two contracts allowed Yunusu to buy ten taxi vehicles thus entrenching himself in the transport business.
A true mentor, Galiwango would support Yusufu even more when he stood surety for him to acquire his first two buses, UAH and UAQ series under the YY Coaches brand. This happened at a time Galiwango had got more political clout and connections after becoming the Director for Finance and Administration at the NRM Secretariat. Through this mentor-mentee relationship, YY acquired more 10 buses and it is said that Galiwango later became a shareholder in the company and helped it acquire more 15 buses, making YY Coaches a nationwide transport giant. Such beginnings explain why YY Coaches has remained a perennial volunteer service provider whenever it comes to ferrying NRM supporters to attend President Museveni rallies and functions especially in eastern Uganda.
NRM Loses Great Political Mentor-Cum-Poacher
While eulogizing Galiwango, NRM secretary general Richard Todwong described him as a dedicated patriot, seasoned administrator, distinguished diplomat and loyal cadre of the NRM. These are the traits that enabled Galiwango to serve at the movement secretariat for a cool 11 years.
Curiously, Todwong also extended sympathies to the many people whose lives Galiwango touched. Now, it is majorly this ability to touch lives which the NRM is going to miss about Galiwango.
It should be noted that apart from being a unifier in Bugisu politics, Galiwango is famed for having begun and nurtured the political careers of some key persons in Bugisu. But it is most important to note that as a true patriot,he reached out to all, both in the NRM and in opposition.
Some of the opposition stalwarts he fished include current Kumi RDC Ahmed Washaki who was hitherto a firebrand UPC opposition politician but who has since transferred that zeal in his works for the NRM. FDC’s Budadiri east MP John Sasaga also attributes his success both in business and politics to Galiwango.
It is common knowledge that Sasaga met Galiwango at Mbale Progressive where the movement man inspired him to start his own school, Sironko progressive SS to help the people of Budadiri get quality education. Sasaga would then use the school as a platform to join politics, becoming Budadiri East MP for the second time now. Galiwango also leaves another political disciple in Bukasakya LC3 boss who is also headteacher of Mbale Progressive SS Day Campus.
With Galiwango departed, the NRM has lost a man of political clout whose king making abilities have kept the opposition away from especially the Mbale woman MP seat. This, observers say was Bugisu’s token to Galiwango through his wife despite the man himself having been shortchanged on tribal grounds. Without Galiwango, it is highly thought that the opposition will gain ground in claiming the seat or at worst case scenario his widow Connie Nakayenze may likely join the opposition so as to escape the haranguing by the NRM camp of Lydia Wanyoto whose maneuvers against Connie were being well handled by the departed patriot.
Galiwango was laid to rest Tuesday at his family’s ancestral cemetery at Jami in Budaka District.