Former presidential press secretary laid to rest

By Sophan Niwamanya

The remains of Hope Kishande Kivengyere, the first and longest-serving press secretary for President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni have been laid to rest at her ancestral home at Rugarama hill, Northern Division, Kabale municipality.

KIshande served as the presidential press secretary from 1986-2001.  She was born to Bishop Festo and Canon Merab Kivengyere on 19 August 1949. She died on Wednesday from Nakasero Hospital.

At a funeral service held at St. Peters’ Cathedral Rugarama, various mourners described the deceased as a patriotic citizen and a Panafricanist who served her country with great dedication.

President Yoweri Museveni was represented by the former prime minister and Presidential envoy on special duties, Dr. Livingstone Ruhakana Rugunda.

In his message, Museveni hailed the deceased for her great professionalism that saw the state and media relations improve during her time.

Security minister Maj Gen (rtd) Jim Muhwezi revealed that he owes his life to the deceased’s courage and loyalty.

Muhwezi, a former bush warfighter, said Kivengere sheltered him at great personal risk to herself during the five-year war that brought them to power in 1986.

Muhwezi revealed that in 1981 while he was in the Uganda Police Force, he was arrested together with some of his colleagues on allegations of allying with the government opposition forces.

In his sermon, the Diocese of Kigezi Bishop, George Bagamuhunda urged mourners to utilize their earthly life carefully so as to leave long-standing legacies after their death.

Family members credited her for being a strong pillar that always wanted unity and development in the big Kivengyere family.

Kivengere started out as a teacher, before joining the National Resistance Army/NRM struggle in 1981.

 After the war, she worked as the President’s press secretary for 16 years, before moving on to writing his speeches for four years.

She then left the government for the African Mission in Sudan. Her next stop was Somalia, with the African Union Mission in Somalia for five years.

She has also worked with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and was a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa committee of elders, which engages in mediation and election observation.