COVID-19 kills former minister Tumubweinee, ex Kabale LCV chairperson

RIP: Manzi Tumubweine

RIP: Manzi Tumubweine

Former Rukiga County MP and minister of State for Privatization Manzi Tumubweine has died.

Tumubweine succumbed to Covid-19 on Friday at around 10:00 pm at Case Clinic in Kampala where he has been admitted.  Tumubweine collapsed during the 5th graduation ceremony at Kabale University on May 28 and was rushed to Kabale regional referral hospital. Tumubweine was later referred to Case Clinic in Kampala for better health management until Friday night when he breathed his last.   

Jack Sabitti, the former Rukiga County MP who is also the national chairman of the elderly council in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party says that the death of Tumubweine is a big blow to the people of Rukiga. Sabitti says that despite the deceased being his political rival they were close friends.

Former prime minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda described Tumubweine as a leader of integrity who served the government and the people of Rukiga with distinction. Roland Bish Ndyomugyenyi, the Rukiga County MP says that Tumubweine will be remembered for helping the needy and mentoring the youth to participate in peaceful politics.

Tumubweine, was in 1997 appointed minister of state for Trade, and in 1998, minister of state for Privatization. He also served as MP Rukiga County from 1996 until 2001, when he was defeated by FDC’s Jack Sabitti.

At the time of his death, he was serving as the chairperson of the National Gaming Board, chairperson of Kabale University Council, and lecturer at Makerere University. He was also director of Kenlloyd Logistics Company Limited. 

In a related development, Patrick Besigye Keihwa, the former Kabale district LC V chairperson who also succumbed to coronavirus disease this week has been laid to rest amidst heavy security. Keihwa was laid to rest on Saturday at his ancestral home in Kanyankwanzi village.

Keihwa, the former Uganda Local Governments' Association (ULGA) chairperson for Western Uganda succumbed to Covid-19 at Healthstone hospital in Banda, Kampala on Thursday evening.

His burial on Saturday attracted less than 40 people with the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) soldiers and the police strictly enforcing standard operating procedures. His body arrived from Kampala on Saturday morning with A-Plus Funeral Services and was immediately taken to the grave.

Keihwa's body being lowered into the grave

None of the residents including the deceased’s family members was allowed to go near the grave. Prudence Kubahigire Besigye, the widow says that her husband developed flu, cough, and chest pains last Monday immediately after returning from Karamoja where he'd attended a conference. He would later test positive for Covid-19. 

Kubahigire says that they were forced to take him to Healthstone hospital in Banda after all the nearby hospitals turned them away due to lack of beds. 

Rev.Canon Erasmus Turyatunga, Kigezi Diocesan secretary who presided over the burial service, hailed security officials for blocking mourners from converging at Keihwa’s home. He said that people should adhere to the SOPs.

Immediately after the burial, security personnel told the few mourners to leave and also ordered family members to go into quarantine.

Keihwa served as Kabale district chairman from 2011 until last year when he was defeated by incumbent Nelson Nshanga Basheija in the NRM party primaries. He also served as the district councilor representing Kitumba sub-county from 2006-2011.

He also served as a station manager for Voice of Kigezi radio and Kamwenge based Voice of Kamwenge. Before his death, Keihwa has been serving as a synod member of the Kigezi Diocese.

On Saturday, Uganda posted its highest daily Covid-19 deaths at 15 and 1,735 new cases - raising the cumulative confirmed deaths to 423 and 60,250 cases respectively. The records were from samples tested on June 10. 

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd