By: Ismael Kasooha
Thousands of mourners on Sunday thronged Kabula village in Lyantonde District to send off the late Keith Muhakanizi, the former Permanent Secretary to the Office of the Prime Minister and also former Permanent Secretary and Secretary to Treasury in the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development.
By 5:06pm, the body of Muhakanizi was being lowered in the grave and was honoured with an 11-gun salute as a procedure for official burial.
President Yoweri Museveni who was represented by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja challenged current and future generation of economic managers to build on the foundation laid by Muhakanizi to liberate Ugandans out of poverty through the NRM ideology of wealth creation.
“The current and future generation of economic managers now have a task of building on the foundation laid by Mr. Muhakanizi, prof. Mutebire and Mr. Kasami to liberate our people out of poverty, consistent with the NRM ideology of wealth creation. The remaining task now is to enable the entire population to join the money economy, scale up the pace of scientific innovations and full industrialization of the economy,” said the president.
In his message president Museveni hailed Keith for his contribution towards the NRM struggle of enabling the entire population to join the money economy and full industrialization.
Muhakanizi contributed to several aspects of Uganda’s economic and financial management reforms and these included the following:
Liberalization and privatization of the economy to eliminate unnecessary controls and distortions in the economy, public debt management to ensure the public debt remains sustainable and mainstreaming poverty issues into the budget including the implementation of the 1997 poverty eradication Action Plan that resulted in significant reduction in the level of poverty.
Other contributions were public finance management (PFM) and accountability reforms, including the automation of financial management systems and the enactment of the current Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) 2015 as well as payroll management reforms and fiscal decentralization which was critical in ensuring that social services in education, health and agriculture are delivered to the Wananchi.
Janet Muhakanizi, the widow to late Keith Muhakanizi thanked government for according her husband an official burial but asked the media not to torture them by not putting them in the limelight.
The Bishop of North Kigezi diocese Rt. Rev. Onesmus Asiimwe, the main preacher, asked the public to always value their time while on earth like Muhakanizi did.
The Bishop of West Buganda Diocese Rt. Rev. Henry Katumba Tamale described the late Keith Muhakanizi as a man who loved God and as the clergy they have lost their child.
“As clergy we have lost our child who loved God so much and even constructed a magnificent church and even helped in the construction of schools. He understood God and his instructions. We are happy that Keith is buried here in Lyantonde,” said Katumba.
Various people eulogized late Muhakanizi including the ministry of Finance, friends and relatives who described him as a social, enterprising, professional and patriotic civil servant.
On Saturday during the national function at Kololo Independence grounds, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija said Muhakanizi remained instrumental even after his transfer from the Ministry of Finance and always offered advice to him and the new Permanent Secretary.
Kasaija described Muhakanizi together with former Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and others as grandparents of Uganda’s modern economy who endured sacrifices to rebuild Uganda.
“Mr. Muhakanizi spearheaded a number of reforms which have helped the government to foster economic growth, attract investments, reduce poverty, improve budget and transparency and restore fiscal discipline,” Kasaija said.
Dennis Abasa, a brother to Muhakanizi described Muhakanizi as a pillar and very supportive to not only their family but each and every person. He extended appreciation to wife Janet Muhakanizi who stood with their brother throughout his life until his demise.
Prof. William Bazeyo, who was the late Muhakanizi’s personal doctor, while addressing mourners, said Muhakanizi was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer in 2018.
He said upon discovery, Muhakanizi was enrolled on an aggressive treatment regime including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and stem-cell transplant, until his last days.
“He was very resilient, responded well to treatment and he believed he would recover and come back to life,” Bazeyo said.
The State Minister for Internal Affairs Gen. David Muhoozi who is a brother to Janet Muhakanizi, the widow, conveyed condolences to the family for the loss of Muhakanizi.
Muhoozi described Muhakanizi as one who loved his work and thanked the President for trusting him with responsibility over the years.
“He was always in a hurry to finish business and understood the value of time. He studied, walked and loved economics. He was very confident in what he believed in, openly expressing his thoughts,” said Muhoozi.
Keith Muhakanizi was born on 24th November 1957 to Rev. Kosia and Zerida Kajwenge (RIP), in Kitojo, Buyanja, Rukungiri District.
He was the 3rd born of Seven (7) children, in a family of Born-again revivalists (Abaishemwe).
The late Keith Muhakanizi has served government for 41 years since he left university in 1982 as an economist in the ministry of finance.
In 1990, he married Janet Kamukama, with whom God blessed them with children.
He was appointed Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury in May 2013, a position he held until July 2021 when he was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Muhakanizi succumbed to multiple organ failure after battling cancer since 2018.
Muhakanizi was survived by 3 children and a widow and died at the age of 64.
May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace