Kirunda Kivejinja

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From UgandaWiki, the Uganda online encyclopedia

Kirunda Kivejinja (born 12 June 1935 in Bugweri, Eastern Uganda) is a veteran Ugandan politician and current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs (Home Affairs Minister) of the central government of the Republic of Uganda.

[edit] Early life

Kirunda Kivejinja
Kirunda Kivejinja

Kirunda was educated at Kibuli Junior school in Kampala and Busoga College Mwiri in Jinja before taking a pre-university course at Madras Christian College and obtaining a Bachelor of Science (Honours) Degree in Zoology at Delhi University on a government of India scholarship.

He took an active part in the student movement during Africa's continental struggle for independence and was treasurer of the African Students Association under the patronage of India's founding Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Other active students included John Kakonge (founding Secretary General of UPC), Chisiza (founding Secretary General of Malawi Peoples party), John Mataure (founder member of ZANU-PF), Bingu wa Mutharika (current President of Malawi), Kintu Musoke (former Prime Minister of Uganda), and John Malecela (former Prime Minister of Tanzania).

[edit] Political career

Back in Uganda in 1962, he joined John Kakonge in mobilising nationalist support for Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) as Secretary for Research and Information. The party won the 1962 independence elections. Since then, Kirunda has been one of the major figures in Uganda's political evolution, both as an actor and as an affected party.

As a result of a power struggle in UPC, Kakonge lost the secretary generalship of the party to Grace Ibingira at the 1964 Gulu delegates conference. Kirunda, with other Kakonge sympathisers, were expelled from the UPC for having a communist agenda. He retreated with colleagues, Kintu Musoke and Bidandi Ssali to private enterprise and founded Sapoba Printers and Publishing Company.

After the fall of the Idi Amin regime in 1979, Kirunda was elected to the National Consultative Council (NCC) in the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF) government. With Kintu and Bidandi, they founded the Weekly Topic newspaper as a forum for discussation of UNLF policy and formulation of a national agenda.

In the run up to the 1980 general election, a group of former exiles organised as the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) under Yoweri Museveni and former NCC members opposed to UPC divisive politics formed the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) to contest the general election, promising a people's rebellion if the election was rigged by UPC. At the first UPM conference, Museveni was elected president, Bidandi Ssali the secretary general and Kirunda, the national treasurer.

In 1981,the National Resistance Movement (NRM) was formed to wage a protracted people's war against the UPC gorvenment with Yusuf Lule as Chairman and Yoweri Museveni as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the NRM/Army High Command. Kirunda was Chief of Publicity and Propaganda of the NRM, Commissioner of Finance in the NRM interim administration in the liberated areas and Member of the NRM delegation at the Nairobi Peace Talks.

In the latter part of the NRM armed struggle, 1983-85, Kirunda sought refuge in Vienna, Austria as a base on the invitation of Erwin Lanc, foreign minister in the socialist governments of Chancellors Bruno Kraisky and Fred Sinowatz. At the death of the NRM chairman Yusuf Lule in 1985,Kirunda convened a meeting of NRM leaders in Unterolberndorf, Vienna, Austria which elected Yoweri Museveni as Chairman of the NRM. This was also the final consultative meeting of NRM leaders before the fall of the Obote regime and subsequent Nairobi Peace Talks in June,1985.

With the capture of state power by the NRM/A in 1986, he was appointed Minister of Relief and Social Rehabilitation. He was also elected to the Constituent Assembly that made Uganda's 1995 Constitution and has held several assignments in the NRM. He is the current Member of Parliament for Bugweri constituency and Chairman of the NRM Historical Leaders' Forum.

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