|Paul Etiang (RIP)|
Tororo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Former Third Deputy Prime Minister Ambassador Paul Orono Etiang has passed on at IHK in Kampala, where he had been admitted since Monday, December 28 2020.
The diplomat was being treated after developing symptoms similar to that of COVID-19. The cause of his death has however not yet been confirmed.
Etiang was a veteran of Tororo politics, where he was for a long time, since the days of Idi Amin, the top cabinet appointment from the district.
Tributes poured in from across the country when news of the death was announced.
“Rt Hon Paul Orono Etiang was a consummate diplomat who served Uganda in different capacities with distinction. May the Almighty God rest his soul in eternal peace,” said Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda in a condolence message.
“In his retirement, Paul Etiang remained a valued pillar who cherished unity and development. We have been in regular touch with his family during his period of sickness. The health workers did the best the could, but the Almighty God had the final say.”
Etiang is the father of Capt Michael Etiang who recently flew Uganda’s new Airbus plane from Toulouse to Entebbe as Chief Pilot, and was husband of Zahara Etyang, a Tanzanian.
“Uganda and Tororo in particular has lost an icon, an elder statesman, one of the few people I know who had the opportunity to serve in all governments. As kids, we all grew up admiring and wishing To be like him in future. May his soul RIP,” said Charles Olweny ‘Mokolimbo’ when he learnt of the death of Etiang. Olweny is contesting for the MP slot in Tororo Municipality, where Etiang hailed from.
Tororo’s politicians all recognized the role Etiang had played both in the district, region, the country and on the international scene.
“Etiang was a consummate public servant. He was disciplined, hardworking and incorruptible. They belonged to a generation that set moral, ethical and work standards worth emulating,” remarked Fox Odoi-Oywelowo. Fox is a former legal counsel at State House and NRM flag bearer in the MP contest in West Budama North East Constituency.
He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1964, becoming the second secretary to the Uganda embassy in Moscow from 1965 to 1967. He was then member of the Uganda mission to the United Nations for a year before being appointed First Secretary then becoming High Commissioner to Britain 1969-1971.
Okoth Nyalulu, a prominent administrator from Tororo and former RDC, also paid tribute to the former Prime Minister.
“As Chairman Padhola Elders’ Forum, we are greatly saddened by the death of the elder states man, Paul Orono Etiang. Tororo will dearly miss his wise counsel. May the good Lord grant him eternal rest,” Nyalulu said.
Former Tororo Municipality MP Sanjay Tana hailed Etiang.
“Tororo has lost an icon, a uniting factor and the country has lost a statesman given his service to all regimes. So for us as the young generation, we have looking onto his as a role model. He played clean politics without intrigue,” Sanjay said.
|Etiang as Information minister engages with the New Vision
administration and board in the early 90s. NEW VISION PHOTO
Etyang joins the NRM
When the NRM government took power, Paul Etiang Orono was working as a diplomat with the United Nations in New York. He was convinced to return, and was handed several ministries including that of Information eventually.
His major contribution while he was information minister was the role he played in the liberalization of the media in the early 1990s.
“When NRM took power, they came up with an idea of having a government of national reconciliation by appointing ministers on a regional basis. They needed people who knew how to manage government affairs. The policy at that time was to pick ministers on the basis of experience and from Tororo, I was the only one who met their needs,” he told New Vision in an interview then.
Etiang is the second pillar of the NRM to die in the past fortnight. Second Deputy Prime Minister Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, 85, passed on after struggling with COVID-19 at Mulago earlier this month.
Orono Etiang will also be remembered for advising President Yoweri Museveni in 2005 to split Tororo into three districts to strengthen Movement support in the region.
It led to the agitation by Tororo county for their own district, a breakaway from West Budama, and they also asked to take Tororo town as their headquarters.
The residents of West Budama did not object to Tororo county becoming a district, but with their headquarters in their own main town of Kwapa, not Tororo Town.
Pallisa, Busia and Butaleja had earlier all broken away from Tororo, and gone to form their own headquarters. (CLICK TO READ- history of districts in Uganda)