President Yoweri Museveni, in response to the passing of former minister Henry Kisadha Kyemba on October 19, 2023, has instructed that an official funeral be arranged for the deceased. The decision to bestow an official funeral on Mr. Kyemba, a former Principal Private Secretary, Minister, Member of Parliament, elder, and influential figure, was announced by Milly Babalanda, the Minister in Charge of Presidency, through a social media post.
Official funerals in Uganda are a special recognition from the President, where the government covers all expenses associated with the burial. Typically, official funerals are reserved for individuals who have made remarkable contributions to the nation.
In the case of state funerals, the government takes full control of the funeral arrangements, often reserved for prominent politicians and former Presidents. This solemn occasion includes the possibility of the body lying in state within the Parliament building, the lowering of flags to half-mast, and the declaration of a National Day of Mourning. Additionally, both official and state funerals involve a gun salute.
Henry Kisadha Kyemba, who was renowned for his authorship of the book “State of Blood: The Inside Story of Idi Amin,” breathed his last on October 19, 2023. This book provides a firsthand account of Kyemba’s experiences as the Minister of Health in Uganda during the oppressive regime of President Idi Amin, which spanned from 1971 to 1979. Within its pages, Kyemba’s work unveils the atrocities and human rights violations perpetrated by Amin’s government, thus serving as a vital historical document that sheds light on a dark period in Uganda’s history.
Throughout his career, Kyemba held various significant roles, including serving as the Principal Private Secretary to late President Dr. Apollo Milton Obote during the post-independence era, later becoming the Minister of Health during Idi Amin’s rule, and subsequently functioning as a state minister under President Museveni’s government.
Born in 1939, Henry Kisadha Kyemba left Uganda for exile in 1977, two years prior to Amin’s ousting, only returning to Uganda in 1986 after President Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Army seized power from Dr. Apollo Milton Obote. Although the exact details of the burial arrangements remain uncertain, it has been reported that the deceased will be laid to rest at the family’s ancestral home in the northern division of Jinja city.