A sombre mood yesterday engulfed Lwamayongo Village, the country home of the deceased Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Keith Muhakanizi, as mourners gathered to give him a befitting send-off.
Muhakanizi, an economist and one of the long-serving civil servants, died on April 13. He was in Milan, Italy, where he had been flown for treatment.
A funeral service, attended by his wife, children and other mourners, was held yesterday.
Muhakanizi’s casket was draped in national colours and guarded by the police.
He was accorded an 11-gun salute as his casket was lowered into the grave in the afternoon.
The clergy led by West Buganda and Diocesan Bishop Henry Katumba and his Kigezi North counterpart Bishop Onesimus Asiimwe led the prayers for the repose of his soul.
But his final send-off was interrupted by a heavy downpour that lasted three hours.
Speaker after speaker applauded Muhakanizi for his role in the planning and economic development of the country.
Muhakanizi began his civil service career in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in 1982 as an economist in the Macro Economic Planning Division.
He later on served in various capacities in the same ministry until 2021 as The Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury.
His family and friends described him as a respectful, loving, amiable, gentle soul who listened to people and more so the elders.
“He was a disciplinarian and dependable person and this is attributed to evangelism that we grew up seeing at our home back in Rukungiri,”Mr Denis Kajwengye, a brother to the deceased said.
He said his brother had a dream of seeing Uganda become a first class economy.
Gen David Muhoozi, the state minister for Internal Affairs, also a brother to Muhakanizi’s wife, said the deceased was a special human being and valued time management.
“His [Muhakanizi’s] attributes challenge us to be better people and live an unquestionable life. I thank the government for giving him a befitting send-off,” he said.
Mr Ben Kavuya, a prominent businessman and a friend of the deceased eulogised him as a perfectionist and thanked the widow, Ms Janet, for keeping her marriage vows to the last hour.
In a speech read for him by the Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, President Museveni said Muhakanizi together with other fallen economists like Bank of Uganda governor Prof Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, Chris Kasami (former permanent secretary and secretary to the treasury at the finance ministry) were instrumental in expanding and diversifying the economy.
“…Mr Muhakanizi particularly contributed to several aspects of Uganda’s economic and financial management reforms like liberalisation and privatisation of the economy to eliminate unnecessary controls and distortions, public debt management and his legacy will never die,” he said.
Mr Fred Muhangi, the chairperson of Lyantonde District, said Muhakanizi touched many lives by contributing to the construction of health centres and schools.
Ms Janet Muhakanizi , the wife of the deceased, said her husband was committed to serving his country and thanked President Museveni for entrusting him with various responsibilities.