Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has paid glowing tribute to the late Hope Kishande Kivengere, his first and longest serving Press Secretary (1986-2001) who passed on this week on Wednesday from Nakasero Hospital.
In a message read by the Minister of the presidency Mariam Dhoka Babalanda during the Requiem Mass at All Saints Cathedral Nakasero, the president hailed Kivengere’s dedication to work and country.
“She was very professional, that is why I chose her to start my press office and be my spokesperson. She carried out this duty with a high sense of professionalism and an outstanding sense of commitment. She was resilient and was never taken aback whenever she came across any challenges,” Museveni said.
President Museveni said the late Kivengere came up with a lot of initiatives on media management and many times, arranged meetings between him and the media fraternity; always imparting on him the important role of the media in any endeavor.
Mueseveni went on: “She created a good rapport between me and the media fraternity by holding these regular meetings. She managed to woo the foreign media and she dedicated herself to building bridges to a better future. She was a great freedom fighter, a patriot and a peace maker. On behalf of the Government, my family and on my own behalf, please accept my heartfelt condolences.”
The President gave a detailed background about Hope Kivengere’s role in the liberation struggle and said she joined the struggle to liberate Uganda quite early in her life as an undergraduate student at Makerere University during Obote II.
“She helped some of the undergraduate students who had earlier joined the struggle but faced grave danger of being killed by the plundering soldiers,” he said. “Hope, at that tender age, had already exhibited bravery. She helped the young freedom fighters to escape and hence saved their lives. Eventually, she also went into exile and fully joined the struggle to liberate her country. Her political acumen was unmatched.”
The President said Kivengere devoted the prime years of her life to the service of Uganda through her extra ordinary career and worked tirelessly to serve her country in the finest traditions of the civil service and served with distinction.
He added: “Hope was very practical. I discovered that she used to drive herself while on safari, I think to Gulu. She had gone with the advance team. When my convoy was on the Gulu highway, one of the guards pointed out that he could see Hope’s car parked by the side of the road. I told the driver to stop and there was Hope fitting a tyre on the car. The car, I remember, was a Santana. I asked why she was changing a tyre herself and not the driver. She replied that she did not have a driver, never had one and would never have one. I asked her why not, and she replied that she believed she was her best driver. She said she knew all about cars and could fix things herself if anything went wrong. That was Hope; very practical and self-reliant.”
The President added that good upbringing matters a lot in one’s life and that he could always detect the noble character of Kivengere’s parents in her.
“It was easy to see a reflection of our renowned evangelists, Bishop Festo Kivengyere and his wife, Merabu Kivengyere,” said Museveni. “Their great legacy is timeless. Hope had a long and untainted career. We were privileged to associate and work with a person of her caliber and vision. She was known for her efficiency at work and above all, that incredible simplicity which endeared her to people of all walks of life. Her unwavering loyalty and service was exemplary and self-evident. Her devotion to national cause and values will remain etched in our minds,” Museveni said.
He added that they will always be grateful for the crucial role Kivengere played and pray that her outstanding service will be a source of inspiration and motivation to many leaders.
“As we mourn this great daughter of Africa, let us also celebrate her life and achievements, I pray that the Almighty God will comfort the family at this most difficult time.,” Museveni said.