The former Rukugiri Uganda People’s Congress [UPC] chairman, Canon Justus Byagagaire, who passed on this week will rest eternally Thursday.
Byagagaire denounced the party and become a full member of the ruling National Resistance Movement.
In 1994, he led a delegation of UPC members who met President Yoweri Museveni in Rwakitura and denounced UPC because it had no clear leadership.
He pledged support for a 3rd term for Museveni in 2006. Byagagaire was UPC chairman between 1980 and 1985, during the Obote II government.
Byagagaire passed on over the weekend at Nsambya Hospital in Kampala where he had been undergoing treatment.
Canon Byagagaire, an elder in Nyakiju village, who will be buried in Rukungiri district was pronounced dead by his old friend Eric Kashambuzi on September 4, 2017.
“I have learned with great sadness the passing of Canon Justus Byagagaire of Rukungiri district in Southwest Uganda. My condolences to his family, relatives and friends,” said Kashambuzi, a Ugandan professor based in New York City, USA.
Kashambuzi said he first met Byagagaire in the late 1950s when he was a student at Kinyasano School. At that time Justus was Rujumbura County sports officer.
“I qualified to compete at the Kigezi district sports level but his assistants disqualified me because I was judged to be too young. Byagagaire overruled them because according to him there was no age requirement.”
While in Kabale for the competition Byagagaire made sure Kashambuzi got the best treatment presumably because he didn’t want anything to go wrong and be blamed.
“Then we played soccer together for Kinyasano OB. We were both in the back and coordinated very well. Other members of our team that I still remember included Tinako Rwakiseta, Ndyanabo, Munabi, Rwamashure and Ngategyire.”
Through Byagagaire, Kashambuzi became a close friend of his brother Rev. Karahukayo. “I hope he still remembers our Christmas Day adventure.”
Kashambuzi even acknowledged Byagagaire in his book titled “Uganda’s Development Agenda in the 21st Century” and other writings and speeches “as a man who treated me with respect and dignity regardless”.
“From my perspective that is his legacy.”