By Joan Akello
Former opposition Forum for Democratic Change chairman, Sam Kalega Njuba, died Dec.13 of intestinal complications at Nsambya Hospital in Kampala. He was 72 years old. The lawyer, politician, and academic had been battling illness.
Former FDC President, Dr Kizza Besigye said Uganda has lost a wonderful man who served his country with dedication and distinction.
“He was a good man; an accomplished legal practitioner; a distinguished legislator; a government minister that oversaw the making of the 1995 Constitution; a revered Deputy President and later Party Chairman of FDC; and above all a life-long fearless freedom fighter,” Besigye said.
“I am sure that his greatest dying pain was from the knowledge that the freedom and good government he fought for all his life was still non-existent.”
Njuba, a former Democratic Party (DP) stalwart joined the National Resistance Movement (NRM) because the former had become docile.
“They (DP) thought everything could be done by the grace of God. So I wanted to find a new party,” he is reported to have said. He added that he refused to join Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) over its bad historical record when its chairman Milton Obote abrogated the 1966 constitution.
President Yoweri Museveni convinced Njuba to join politics to eliminate suspicion after he was released from prison in1980.
“Museveni gave me the impression that he was brave and I thought he was determined to put right what had gone wrong. He was not sectarian [and] tribalistic,” Njuba once told the press. But this, he said, was before he fell out with President Museveni.
Njuba was born in Kalega Maggwa, Gayaza to Rev. Canon Malaki Musoke Njuba and Nantege Njuba on February 22, 1941. His father died when he was about two-years old.
He went to Nyenga PS in Mukono district for one year 1947-48 before he was transferred to Mpumu primary school in 1949. Then in 1951, his mother was transferred to Gayaza and he joined Kadongo Gayaza Boys School. After P.6, Njuba joined Shimoni TTC to become a teacher. He was there only a week.
He was a salesman at Uganda Electricity Board. In 1963, he went back to school and was accepted to do A-level at Mbale SS. He later joined the University of Dar es Salaam where he did Law with prominent lawyers including Prof. Frederick Ssempebwa. Njuba earned a second-class upper degree. He briefly worked at the East African Airways before he went for further studies at Queen’s University in the UK.
He began his career as a Lecturer at Makerere University in 1969-1972. Some of his students include Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, Khiddu Makubuya, Justice Constance Byamugisha (the late deputy Chief Justice) and Elijah Wante.
He was appointed Chief Magistrate Buganda Road Court in 1973 before venturing into private Legal practice under his Sam K. Njuba and Company advocates from 1973 to 1980.
From 1981 to 1983 he worked as the Secretary External Committee of the NRM, during which he coordinated NRM recruitment in Nairobi.
From 1983 to 1986 he moved on to the University of Papua New Guinea where he worked as Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Magisterial studies at the Faculty of Law. When he returned in Uganda in 1986, after winning the Constituent Assembly (CA) seat of Kyaddondo East, he was appointed Minister of State for Constitutional Affairs until 1993 by the NRM/A government. He contested for the Kyaddondo East constituency again in the 1996 elections, representing them until 2001. Thereafter he again went into private Legal practice from 2001-2007.
In 2006 he contested for Kyaddondo East on the Forum for Democratic Change ticket. In 2010, he was unveiled as the FDC Party National Chairman, a position he held till his demise.
Njuba was also the Chancellor of Namirembe Diocese, advising the Chancellery on legal matters.
In 2009, Njuba said he wanted his epitaph to read: «Here lies an advocate and gentleman who put off his professional amour to liberate this country and once this was done, he returned to his profession.
Sam Njuba’s profile
Born: February 22, 1941
Home area: Gayaza, Wakiso
Education Career: Gayaza Boys Primary School, Wampewo Primary School, Makerere College School, Government Secondary School, Mbale,
Dar es Salaam University (LLB) and Queens University, Belfast, N. Ireland (LLM)
Secretary NRM/A External Committee (1984-1986), Minister of State for Constitutional Affairs (1986-1994), NRC member (1989-1994), CA Member Kyadondo East (1994-1995), MP Kyadondo East (1996-2001); Chairman, Elect Kizza Besigye Task Force (2001), Executive Coordinator FDC (2004 to date)
Lecturer, Makerere University (1969-1972), Chief Magistrate Buganda Road Court (1972), President Uganda Law Society (1978-1979), Advocate, Njuba & Company Advocates (1994 -2013).