PROFILE: Kyanjo’s full biography, political life and exact cause of death

DECEASED: Hajj Hussein Kyanjo, the former Makindye West MP. Photo | Courtesy

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Hajj Hussein Kyanjo, the former MP for Makindye West in the Ugandan Parliament was pronounced dead on Saturday morning after battling a long-term illness attributed to colon cancer.

Kyanjo, who represented Makindye West on two occasions (2006 to 2011 and 2011 to 2016) breathed his last at Kibuli Hospital in Kampala according to sources from within the family.

But who is Hussein Kyanjo? DailyExpress looks at the former MP’s biography, age, early life, wife, education, family, poison claims, suffering from colon cancer, Dystonia, his experience as an MP and one of the founding members of Justice Forum (JEEMA).

Early Life & Education

Hussein Kyanjo was born in Ntuuma, Bukomansimbi District in 1960 to Hajji Siliman Zirabamuzaale Jakana and Mariam Nabuuma. He is the seventh born in a family of 10 children.

He attended Ntuuma primary school in Bukomansimbi and Kako Primary School where he received his Primary Leaving Examination Certificate in 1975, and then Masaka Secondary School for both his O’ & A’ Level certificates.

In 1983, Kyanjo joined Makerere University where he graduated with a Degree in Industrial and Fine Art.

Joining Politics

Former Makindye West MP Hussein Kyanjo

Prior to joining active politics, Kyanjo worked as a graphics designer in a self-owned entity including supplying printing materials till he was voted into parliament in 2006 to serve as the MP for Makindye East Constituency Kampala City division.

Kyanjo’s first encounter with elective politics was in 2001, as the Makindye MP, but lost the race to Yusuf Nsambu. However, he returned in 2006 where he achieved victory as the Makindye West legislator. 

Kyanjo was JEEMA’s spokesperson and a campaign manager of JEEMA’s presidential candidate, Kibirige Mayanja in 2001. His politics were leadership fair play, not the politics of gaining and he was an advocate for justice for the oppressed Ugandans.

While at Parliament, Kyanjo served as a shadow Minister in charge of the presidency. He was one of the sounding legislators in the 8th and 9th parliament. He also served as a member of the defence committee at Parliament.

He was one of the dedicated legislators that played a visible role in the heated oil bribery claims that rocked parliament at the turn of 2011.

Kyanjo was a very popular panellist in the banned open-air live broadcast radio debates titled Bimeeza. During his time at Parliament, he was the only legislator representing the Justice Forum (JEEMA), one of the vicious opposition figures and a very uncompromising legislator.

As a legislator, Kyanjo said that he received various pieces of training on conduct as an MP including searching for a skilled and experienced legislator Emmanuel Pinto who shaped him on how to deal with anger and the press. He as well made efforts to visit the House of Commons where he met Jack Straw who also trained him.

One of his precious moments at Parliament was the time he maintained his position when the government of Uganda desired to sell off Mabira Forest. He and other legislators stood their ground against selling off Mabira. 

Kyanjo is one of the politicians who broadly criticize President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni without fear.

In 1996, Kyanjo was appointed by the American Embassy, American Council for Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) to be one of the election observers of the USA elections that propelled Bill Clinton to power for the second term. 

This was the time he joined politics after starting a political party named Justice Forum (JEEMA) alongside Imam Kasozi, Omar Kalinge Nyango and Muhammad Kibirige Mayanja. 

Cause of death

Hussein Kyanjo succumbed to stage four colon cancer, a condition he has battled over a long period of time according to relatives and friends.

However, the former MP first openly spoke about his health condition in May 2014 after he had been in and out of hospital for about two years.

Mr Kyanjo said he had travelled to Johannesburg, South Africa, for Parliament business in early 2011 when two days into the trip, he realised he was struggling to speak.

He said by the time he went to see the doctor, who could not identify the problem, he had some missing teeth and thought it was one of the problems. He said when he went for that (check), it was not part of the problem until he went to an Iranian-owned hospital in Dubai.

“There, they diagnosed me with a disease called dystonia. They said it was a rare stubborn disease; it resists drugs and is very disturbing to one who has it. They gave me some drugs which I started using but also referred me to a London hospital where they said it was going to be better for me,” he said in 2014.

Mr Kyanjo said doctors told him his condition could have been caused by any of three factors, an inheritance of the disease, the effects of a serious accident or poison.

“I checked and found I could not have inherited it because no one has suffered from such a disease in our family. It also cannot have been caused by an accident because I have never been involved in any. So, I was left with one possibility—poisoning,” the former MP said then.

However, before cancer, he was diagnosed with Dystonia at an Iranian-owned hospital in Dubai after several hospitals failed to determine his condition, a disease that affected his speech centre. 

He could hardly speak and today he uses a speech aid to help him speak. According to Kyanjo, Dystonia is a result of poison he believes he ate in Kampala but cannot figure out the exact place. 

His condition began while in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2011 where he and his colleagues in the 9th Parliament had gone for a visit. This was the time he released that he could not speak clearly, associated with difficulty breathing.

Family life

Hussein Kyanjo was a married man with six children. He married his first wife while still a student at Masaka Secondary School, then in 2007, he married a second wife Sumayya Kyanjo. Unfortunately, she passed on recently.

Kyanjo will be remembered as an honest man, respectful and consistent person.

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