By Kabuye Ronald
The longest serving former Democratic Party DP President Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere has died at the age of 90 years.
Ssemogerere reportedly died on Friday morning at his Busiro county home though the cause of death is yet to be revealed.
Ssemogerere led the Democratic Party in the highly contested 1980 general election which was won by two time Ugandan president Milton Obote’s UPC party.
Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere was born on 11 February 1932 in present-day Kalangala District, in the Buganda Region of Uganda, was the leader of the Democratic Party in Uganda for 25 years and one of the main players in Ugandan politics until his retirement in 2005.
Early life and education
Ssemogerere was born on 11 February 1932, in Uganda. He attended St. Henry’s College Kitovu for his high school. He received a Diploma in Education from Makerere University in Kampala. He studied the Politics and Government Program at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. In 1979 he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in public administration from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. and died on 18th November 2022
In 1961–62 Ssemogerere was elected as a member of the Uganda Legislative Council and afterwards of the National Assembly of Uganda as Member of Parliament for North Mengo Constituency. In 1972, he replaced Benedicto Kiwanuka as the leader of the Democratic Party, having previously served as his Parliamentary Secretary. Following the 1971 coup, Ssemogerere was in exile until 1979, when he returned as Minister of Labour.
In 1980, Paul Ssemogerere assumed leadership of the Democratic Party. In 1984, he was reelected as leader over the challenge of Okeny Atwoma. In response to Okeny Atwoma’s unsuccessful challenge, Atwoma established the Nationalist Liberal Party alongside former minister Anthony Ochaya, Cuthbert Joseph Obwangor, and Francis Bwenge.
Ssemogerere was a Presidential Candidate in the disputed 1980 General elections which were won by Milton Obote‘s Uganda People’s Congress. Ssemogerere then became the leader of the parliamentary opposition from 1981 to 1985. He was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs during the presidency of Tito Okello (1985–86).
After Yoweri Museveni became president in January 1986 following a coup, Ssemogerere was consecutively Minister of Internal Affairs (1986–88), Foreign Affairs (1988–94) and Public Service (1994–95) and at the same time held the post of deputy prime minister in Museveni’s National Resistance Movement government (from 1986). He resigned from his government posts in June 1995 because he was the presidential candidate for the mainstream opposition, but he lost the 1996 presidential elections to Museveni.
Ssemogerere had also been a delegate to the Organization for African Unity (OAU), and was chairman of the OAU Council of Ministers from 1993 to 1994.
Ssemogerere was married to Germina Namatovu Ssemogerere, a professor of economics at Makerere University. Their children include Grace Nabatanzi (1963–2011), who married Gerald Ssendaula, Karoli Ssemogerere, an American-trained lawyer, Anna Namakula, a public policy analyst with the Foundation for African Development, Immaculate Kibuuka a fashion designer and Paul Semakula an ICT Consultant. He was a member of the Roman Catholic religion.