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Former Privatisation Minister Manzi Tumubweine Dies of Covid-19

The late Manzi Tumubweine narrates his life story during an interview with Daily Monitor. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA

Former State Minister for Privatization, and Rukiga County MP, Hon. Manzi Tumubweine has died.

Tumubweine, 80, succumbed to Covid-19 on Saturday night at around 10:00 PM at Case Clinic in Kampala where he has been admitted. His death was confirmed by his daughter, Peace Musimenta.

The deceased is the father of Tumubweine Twinemanzi, a Ugandan economist and central banker who serves as the Executive Director of the Bank Supervision Directorate of Bank of Uganda.

Outgoing Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda mourned the deceased:

The deceased was born in 1941 to Sadayo and Feresi Kanyamanzi in Kamwezi, Kabale District.

Below is an article about Manzi’s life published by Daily Monitor in 2012.

Hardworking, honest and one who takes life simply is how Manzi Tumubweine describes himself. Born in 1941 to Sadayo and Feresi Kanyamanzi in Kamwezi, Kabale District, his life is a true picture of a rags to riches story, which he tells in his book Struggle to Success.

Tumubweine’s story of success began when he lost his father at the age of 12. “I am one of the few people that have never been to Primary Seven. My father passed on in 1955 when I was in Primary six, so I had no school fees to go to junior one which is today’s equivalent of Primary Seven. I had to find something to do in order to earn and be able to look after the family”.

At 14, he joined Bishop Stuart College, Kakoba in Mbarara, to train as a teacher. He trained for four years and started teaching in 1960.

“My ambition was to one day join the university because before my father died, he told me he wanted me to go to the university. This was because when he came to Buganda to work, his boss’s children were at the university and he said they spoke like whites so he also wanted me to go to the university.”

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Even as he was at Kakoba, Tumubweine did not forget his dream, so he read various books in order to learn and one day qualify for the university. He had a rich friend who bought books that he borrowed to read.

During the holidays in order to pay school fees for his three brothers and sister, Tumubweine worked as a porter in plantations of any one in the village that cared to hire him. While at school, he tended the compounds of two of his white teachers who paid him 50 cents per hour, which he used as transport to school and to pay fees for his siblings.

Village academic giant
In 1965, after a lot of self-teaching, he managed to sit for O’ level exams as a private student and he passed. Next was A’ level. Because he had to continue teaching himself as he worked as a teacher, he planned to give himself three years to prepare for A’ level exams, which he planned to sit in 1967. Fortunately, in 1967, Makerere University resolved that people who had been in service for over five years could be allowed to sit a mature age entry exam.

“I passed the exam and was called to join Makerere in 1968 to do bachelors in economics”. He completed university in 1971 and during the last days of his final exams, he was one of the lucky students from his department who were recommended to work in the Bank of Uganda (BOU). “I was the first from my village to complete a bachelors at Makerere University, first to do a masters abroad, to become a lecturer,”he says with pride.

In May 1971, the Economics Department at Makerere wanted students to do postgraduate studies and at the same time help the department with tutorial groups and he was among those invited, and he accepted. This meant he had to leave BOU after three months to go to the university.

In March 1972, he sat for his first year post graduate exams for a degree in Economics and was appointed a special assistant in the department. He finished the second year of his post graduate studies from the University of Leeds, UK on a British Council scholarship because the professor meant to supervise him was leaving the country.

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He married his wife, Christine Nyarubona on June 3, 1972 before travelling to UK in August 1972, to complete his masters. After completing his Masters in 1973, Tumubweine was appointed a lecturer at Makerere. He had applied before leaving the UK. In 1975, Tumubweine became an Employee Relations Manager of Esso Standard Uganda Ltd, which he left in 1981, during the NRA bush war. He fled because intelligence officers were hunting him down since they claimed he had given the NRA fuel since he was dealing in fuel. It is during this time that he decided to write a book. He says it hit him that if anything happened and he died, there would be nothing about his life for his children to read.

Venturing into politics
He fled to Kabale and stayed there all through Obote’s reign until the NRM government took over and he stood for Member of Parliament in 1981. He won the election and was re-voted in 1996 until 2001. In 1997, he was appointed Minister of state for trade and in 1998, Minister of state for privatisation. Currently he does private business.

During his service as minister, Tumubweine says the biggest problem he identified in the country is the lack of understanding between the voters and voted. “They seem not to understand the role of MPs.

They are supposed to make laws, yet voters think they are supposed to make roads, schools, pay school fees etc. MPs are a watchdog of the executive”. He also says there is a problem with people willing to be paid for votes because then, they cannot ask for any accountability since they entered a deal and were paid off.

“I also think leaders have made people very dependent on government. People expect government to do things it should not be doing. If you have jiggers, is the government supposed to come and bathe you or sweep the compound for you? You hear people in the news saying government has not helped them do things they are meant to do themselves”.

The advice he gives to young people is that success depends on what you want to do. “Set goals that are achievable and achieve them one at a time”. He wants to be remembered as someone that worked hard, liked people, did not discriminate among classes and who believes culture makes people what they are.


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