100 most influential Ugandans – Part VII (Daily Monitor (Uganda))

Protasio Sebutozi Ayigihugu
He resigned his civil service job at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions because Idi Amin had appointed Francis Ayume, a lawyer many rungs his junior, to replace him as the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ayigihugu then launched into private practice and risked Amin’s wrath. On one occasion he was detained and had to escape from his captors while being transferred to Makindye Barracks, but this did not stop him from defending key figures of Amin’s regime, including Abdallah Nasur, when the regime fell.

In his illustrious career as a criminal defender, Ayigihugu also defended former regime strongmen like Paulo Muwanga during Museveni’s early years. He prioritised criminal defence and did very well at it so well that many players in the game

regard him as a pioneer in his own right and probably still the best at it.

Winnie Byanyima
It is often mentioned that she was the first Ugandan woman to earn a degree in aeronautical engineering and indeed she was an aircraft engineer with Uganda Airlines until she joined President Museveni’s Bush War effort in the early 1980s.

But Winnie Byanyima is more renowned for other things, namely fighting to narrow the gap between men and women, and the rich and the poor.

She also had a successful stint in politics as a representative of Mbarara Municipality.

Currently the executive director of Oxfam International, Byanyima earlier served as the director of the UNDP Gender Team, a posting she took up after a stint at the African Union Commission as director of the Women, Gender and Development Directorate.

She has had the privilege of being in the company of influential people, and President Museveni spent some of his childhood time in the Byanyimas’ home.

Her father, Boniface Byanyima, was himself a chairman of the Democratic Party, and she is married to Dr Kizza Besigye, the most prominent Opposition politician.

Whereas these contacts could have helped her rise, however, it is easy to see why Byanyima made it so big on different stages by merely interacting with her.

Wafula Oguttu
At a time when Opposition against President Museveni’s government was bottled under the so-called Movement System, Monitor filled the void by asking the hard questions and saying the things that would otherwise remain unsaid.

This was under particularly difficult conditions, including a seven-year advertising ban by all government agencies.

It probably wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Monitor became the most influential Ugandan publication from its founding to date, with whoever had an important matter to share through an independent medium seeking it out.

For leading colleagues in creating this very important platform and guiding it through especially hard times, Wafula Oguttu earns his place among the most influential Ugandans of all time.

Now an Opposition legislator and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Oguttu continues to serve on Monitor’s board of directors as the head of the human rights committee.

Teddy Ssezi Cheeye
He was a pioneering investigative journalist under the umbrella of the Uganda Confidential.

Teddy Ssezi Cheeye did some hard-hitting exposes and was the first journalist to call stealing by its name during President Museveni’s regime. He inspired a crop of journalists in the Crusader, Monitor and later The Observer. It is a pity that Cheeye is currently serving a 10-year jail term over corruption, the vice his ground-breaking journalism targeted with venom.

Rasta Rob
Born Robert Ogwal but well known as Rasta Rob MC, he is another of the surviving legends of the radio entertainment.

Having cut his niche as a DJ with SM sounds, he went on to mix music in nightclubs before making a name on the airwaves starting with Sanyu FM in 1993.

He later moved on to CBS for a couple of years before taking a sabbatical to Europe for some years. Upon his return, he joined Super FM and his fan base never diminished during the time he was off air.

Peter Sematimba
When he set up the Dungeon Studios in Makindye, he set the Ugandan music scene on a new pace. The computerised music recording and production started with him.

He joined Capital Radio in 1994 with his famous jams at eight and the Capital senga. He was the first male radio presenter to talk about sexual relates issues on air.

He left Capital Radio to go and start CBS radio which he managed under his brand name Semat productions which managed the station on behalf of the kingdom, from where he went on to start his own Super FM, later he branched into politics.

He also had a stint in the motoring fraternity as well as trying out singing with his hit song Kiri kiri mabelo.

Noeline Kaleeba
She is the co-founder and patron of the Aids Support Organisation (Taso).

In 1987, Kaleeba, a physiotherapist, together with other colleagues, set up Taso to provide support and counselling to people with HIV/Aids.

Nursing her husband through the disease, Kaleeba came face to face, with the horror of stigmatisation when no health worker would touch him.

At a time when HIV/Aids sufferers were heavily denounced in the community, Taso was one of the first community responses to the disease established in Africa. Even before the introduction of anti-retroviral drugs, Taso gave hope for anyone living with or diagnosed with HIV/Aids.

Alex Ndawula
Alex Ndawula has been on Uganda’s radio scene longer than any other Ugandan radio presenter today.

Besides radio, he has graced virtually all top clubs in Kampala besides doing corporate functions.

From Club Clouds, Silk, Angenoir Discotheque, Steak Out, Chaos, to mention but a few. He is one of the pioneer radio presenters when FM private radio stations started out in Uganda in 1993. He is well known for his shows on Capital Radio.

Benjamin Odoki
If Benjamin Odoki, on two separate occasions (in 2001 and 2006), had ruled to annul the results of the presidential election, the history of would have been different.

As Chief Justice, Odoki on both occasions swayed the Supreme Court rulings to prevent the re-election of Yoweri Museveni as President.

Before becoming Chief Justice, Odoki had chaired the Constitutional Commission, which gathered views countrywide and drafted the current Constitution.

A prominent law teacher and author, Odoki’s name was mired into further controversy when on clocking the mandatory retirement age of 70 years for the Chief Justice, President Museveni sought to re-appoint him to the position.

Odoki was unclear about it and stayed on the Bench for more than a year, but stern criticism and a court case against his re-appointment eventually led him to declare that he would not take up the position again.

Olara Otunnu
Olara Otunnu is a living symbol of how not to pursue political differences.

Had the government in Kampala been open to any Ugandan taking up the job of United Nations secretary general, regardless of political leanings, Otunnu would have scooped it in 1997.

As he signs out as Uganda Peoples Congress president, it is clear that Otunnu’s exceptional skills as a diplomat were not exactly what was required of a Ugandan Opposition leader of contemporary times.

Always appearing to be ahead of his peers, Otunnu advocated for a boycott of the 2011 elections unless President Museveni agreed to key electoral reforms. When it became clear that the reforms would not be coming, the other Opposition leaders, led by Kizza Besigye, decided to participate, arguing that it was possible to win an election which was not free and fair. Museveni gained 10 percentage points.

Frustrated, Otunnu also registered as presidential candidate but spent the whole campaign slanging the Electoral Commission and calling for reforms and, on election day, he never turned up to cast his ballot. The Opposition now say there will either be reforms or no election next year.

Charles Onyango-Obbo
Is Charles Onyango-Obbo a journalist or pubic intellectual?

We will not attempt to answer this question, but Onyango-Obbo, co-founder of Monitor and now editor of the online publication Mail Guardian, has run probably the most insightful column by any Ugandan for the longest time in history.

We are talking about the Wednesday Daily Monitor column Ear to the Ground.

It is witty and unconventional, allowing the reader the luxury of an alternative opinion from a guy who keeps abreast of most developments in different fields.

Before being “exiled” to Nairobi, Onyango-Obbo edited Monitor. He groomed many journalists.

From previous weeks
Below is a summary of the people we profiled
-The Mukwanos
-Mulji Prabhudas Madhvani
-Shri N. K. Mehta
-James Mulwana
-Sembule Group
-Justin Okeny Jack Dwonga
-Sudhir Ruparelia
-Aga Sekalala
-Patrick Kasulu
– Tumusiime-Mutebile
-Sulaiman Kiggundu.
-Allen Kagina
-Gordon Wavamunno

-Omukama Kabalega
-Mwanga II
-Ignatius Kangavve Musaazi
-Edward Muteesa II
-Milton Obote
-Idi Amin Dada
-Benedicto Kiwanuka
-Godfrey Binaisa
-Abubaker Kakyama Mayanja
-Yoweri Museveni
-Kizza Besigye
-Semei Kakungulu
-Paulo Muwanga

-Prof Ssenteza Kajubi
-Bernard Onyango
-David Livingstone Ongom
-Waswa Balunywa
-Prof Dani W. Nabudere
-Prof Mahmood Mamdani
-Sylvia Tamale
-Sarah Ntiro

-Dr Jovan Kiryabwire
-Prof Alexander Odonga
-Dr Matthew Lukwiya
-Dr Samuel Okware
-Dr Josephine Nambooze

Armed forces religion
-Oyite Ojok
-Venanciao Okello
-Gen Salim Saleh
-Gen Kale Kayihura
-Fabian Okware
-Joseph Etima
-Apolo Kivebulaya
-Nuhu Mbogo
-Shiekh Abdul Kamulegeya
-Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga
-Archbishop J.B. Odama
-Bishop Festo Kivengere

-Philip Omondi
-John Akii-Bua
-Stephen Kiprotich
-Bidandi Ssali
-Patrick Kawooya
-John Mugabi ‘The Beast’
-Ayub Kalule
-Davis Kamoga
-Maj Gen F. Nyangweso
-Dorcus Inzikuru
-Majid Musisi
-Moses Kipsiro
-Ibrahim Sekagya
-Grace Sseruwagi
-The Blick family
-Charles Muhangi
-Karim Hirji
-Leo Rwabwogo
-Sam Walusimbi
-Golola Moses
-Justine Arop
-Judith Ayaa

-Okot p’Bitek
-Philly Bongole Lutaaya
-Stephen Rwangyezi
lByron Kawadwa
-Alex Mukulu
-Wycliff Kiyingi
-Israel Magembe
-Jose Chameleone
-Juliana Kanyomozi

-William Pike
-Dr Piero Corti Lucille Teasdale
– Dr Albert Cook
-Pastor Gary Skinner
-Sister Rachele Fassera
-Fr Lourdel Mapeera
-Allidina Visram


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