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Uganda’s unsung heroes of 2022 as chosen by you

Pastor Moses Mukisa

Pastor Moses Mukisa

In this unranked list, SAMUEL MUHINDO asked different Ugandans to nominate their outstanding personalities of 2022, and why. Although there may not be a gold standard for ‘outstanding’, these people captured all the feelings – excitement, victory and pride, throughout the year.

PASTOR MOSES MUKISA – HEAD, WORSHIP HARVEST MINISTRIES (Nominated by Daniel Bwambale, senior principal magistrate and head, Uganda Legal Information Institute) 

“Amidst the gloom of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war and the Ebola outbreak, stood Worship Harvest Ministries. This little-known but extremely sustainably impactful ministry planted 31 physical presences for their ministry in 2022, alone.

The churches are as far as Germany. If anyone is expanding Ugandan influence, it is this community-led and organized ministry, all the brainchild of the erudite, but unassuming architect, Moses Mukisa.

“They run a Cambridge certificate accredited school in Harvest International School in Naalya, whose tuition is not extortionist like the majority of international curriculum schools. On December 11, 2022, it was announced that they had bought 14 new properties for ministry in addition to building the Worship Harvest Mukono cathedral, in a record five months.

Meantime, the 11-floor mixed-use school, church, office, and business facility at Naalya was completed with a newly paved road circuiting the same.

“The graduates from the Harvest Leadership School published 146 books in 2022, alone. They have had an admirable, but deliberately unadvertised corporate social responsibility, feeding the hungry, and clothing the sick like the true Christ instructed them. It is not easy to quantify the substantiated and long-lasting impact of this ministry. It is stranger still because the level of accountability and high-level corporate governance observed at Worship Harvest is not one associated, usually, with organizations from these climes.”

Steven Kavuma

KAVUMA STEVEN – SENIOR SIX VACIST (Nominated by Mary Serumaga, policy expert)

“Kavuma just completed his 2022 Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (A-level) exams at St Elizabeth SSS Nkoowe. Although Kavuma has no hands, he scored 19 points at senior four.

He later proceeded to take Physics, Economics and Math (PEM/ICT) at HSC. Kavuma’s attainments are a lesson in fortitude and dignity in the face of adversity for us all. He achieved all this in the heat of the pandemic.”

USAAMA SEBUUFU – HEAD, LITIGATION DEPARTMENT AT K&K ADVOCATES (Nominated by Tonny Tumukunde, managing partner at Tumukunde Advocates)

“Sebuufu has maintained a humble personality despite succeeding as a litigation lawyer. Annually, Sebuufu clears subscription fees of at least 10 young lawyers to both the Uganda Law Society and the Uganda Muslim Lawyers Association where he serves as secretary for religious affairs. He is credited for mentoring young lawyers such as Bazira Anthony, Tonny Tumukunde, and Henry Nyegenye among others.”

SHAMIM NAMBASA – FORMER GUILD PRESIDENT, MAKERERE UNIVERSITY (Nominated by Primah Kwagala, CEO of the Women’s Pro Bono Initiative)

“During her tenure as the guild president of Makerere University, Nambasa’s energy and voice as the students waded through the pandemic, was a force to reckon with.”

“Sebuufu has maintained a humble personality despite succeeding as a litigation lawyer. Annually, Sebuufu clears subscription fees of at least 10 young lawyers to both the Uganda Law Society and the Uganda Muslim Lawyers Association where he serves as secretary for religious affairs. He is credited for mentoring young lawyers such as Bazira Anthony, Tonny Tumukunde, and Henry Nyegenye among others.”

PERUTH CHEMUTAI – OLYMPIC CHAMPION (Nominated by Patricia Munabi Babiiha, executive director, Forum for Women in Democracy)

“In a year of a raging economic crisis and people struggling to keep afloat, Chemutai’s win during the Women’s 3000m steeplechase at the 2022, FBK Games in Hengelo, Netherlands brought a smile to our faces. Sports has not been given the
due attention yet it continues to put us on the global scene. Sportsmen and women go the extra mile to make it work. It is more difficult for women. Chemutai’s win demonstrated again that what men can do, women can too!!”

Peruth Chemutai (L), the Olympic champion

CAROLINE ADOCH, LAW DON AT MAKERERE UNIVERSITY (Nominated by Nicholas Opiyo, founder and executive director of Chapter Four Uganda)

“Adoch became the first woman to get an LLD (PhD) in law from the oldest university in Uganda – Makerere University. In a year that the university marked its 100 years, her achievement is inspiring and path-setting for many girls and women in
Uganda. She broke a glass ceiling. Looking back now, she is keeping up with her achievements as she was also the best student in the country in her A-level exams in 1999: a truly phenomenal woman and mother.”

JACQUELINE ASIIMWE – FOUNDER AND CEO OF CIVSOURCE AFRICA (Nominated by Nicholas Opiyo, Founder and executive director of Chapter Four Uganda)

“In a country where there is so much dependency on foreign funding, Asiimwe and her colleagues at CivSource Africa are (re)shaping African philanthropy, but growing the culture of giving, celebrating local giving, and engendering it in the fabric of our society. This process is vital for me because it is path-setting but also gives ownership to individuals over local processes – whether in the civil society or private sector.”

Jacqueline Asiimwe

WINNIE NWAGI – MUSICIAN (Nominated by Eddie Ssendi, radio show host and events promoter)

“She’s been signed to a record label (Swangz Avenue) for over eight years churning out several hit songs, and fans kept asking why she wasn’t holding her maiden concert. On the flip side, she courted so much controversy ranging from near nude attires, beating up fans and her maid, and making very rude comments on social media to those that attacked her. But surprisingly, she held the best-attended concert by a Ugandan artiste at Cricket Oval and her performance was worth the billing.”

ROBERT TURYAKIRA – ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS DEFENDER (Nominated by Bob Kirenga, executive director National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders)

“He has been consistent for the last four years advocating for sound environmental management policies and laws to mitigate the effects of climate change, including advocating for the realization of the SDGs Agenda, specifically No.15 of protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.”

THEMBO ERI NYAKANGO – FOUNDER, CELAK VOCATIONAL SCHOOL (Nominated by Winnie Kiiza, former leader of the opposition)

“He has been very consistent in improving the quality of Uganda’s hospitality industry through CELAK vocational school in Kasese. Most of the Bakonzo service providers in our high-end hotels and restaurants have gone through Nyakango’s hands. CELAK has become a centre of excellence.”

FARMERS (Nominated by Julius Mucunguzi, a communications advisor at OPM)

“They have kept the country fed through the lockdowns and other crises. Farmers have kept people that do not dig with food. Although the security agencies maintain peace in Uganda, the people that maintain peace are those that keep people fed. No amount of force can stop a hungry population from becoming violent. I salute the women and women that continue to bring vegetables and other food items to Nakasero and Kalerwe markets.”

OJOK OKELLO – FOUNDER AND CEO OF OKERE CITY (Nominated by Anisha Alinda, programme officer at KAS Uganda)

“He has provided visionary leadership and dedication to transform his ancestral home in Okere, Otuke district. He is a true embodiment of service above self.

Ojok left the cushioned 9 to 5 life in Kampala for the stretch of neglected country land. Okere is miles away from the nearest hospital, school, clean running water, and electricity lines. It is plagued with the legacies of the insurgency that plagued Northern Uganda for approximately two decades. He currently provides adult education to formerly displaced peoples by the war, early development education for the children and basic health care services among others.”

SUSAN MUHWEZI – CHAIRPER- SON UGANDA HOTEL OWNERS ASSOCIATION (UHOA) (Nominated by Jean Byamugisha, Secretary General, UHOA)

“Muhwezi negotiated the stimulus package for the tourism and hotel sector from the government. Hotels are among the few industries in Uganda that got a stimulus package from the government in the heat of the pandemic. The European Union (EU) also came on board to help the hotels recover. These facilities from both the EU and Uganda Development Bank helped hotels to pay salaries, clear outstanding arrears and ensure their day-to-day activities run smoothly. With approximately 77 per cent and 58 per cent of staff in the sector being youth and female respectively, Susan stands out as a source of inspiration.”

DOROTHY KISAKA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KCCA (Nominated by Simon Kasyate, spokesperson KCCA)

“She superintends over a city of as many dynamics as the hills it occupies, with double the interest as the streets it hosts, and triple the politics and intrigue than the schools and health centres it holds. Amidst this, Kisaka remains level-headed as she maintains a delicate balance between interest and stakeholders, while providing that much-needed leadership and guidance to her thousands of technical staff across the five division offices and the City Hall. Even more, keeping a good working relationship with the Political side of the Authority. Lady has something up her sleeve that’s worth everyone’s reverence.”

JOSHUA CHEPTEGEI, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST (Nominated by Maxima Nsimenta, CEO and founder, of Livara Cosmetics)

“He has won back-to-back gold medals in the 10,000m race both at the Olympics and at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22.”

PESH AHUMUZA – FEMINIST (Nominated by Safina Virani, co-director and co-founder of Frauen Initiative Uganda)

“She is that girl that uses her huge influence to do good in society. She has been at the front of donations to women’s shelters, flood victims in Mbale etc. Ahumuza started the Ugandans on Twitter ‘market day’ trend where people post pictures of items on sale and the items they wish to buy. It helped small businesses recovering from the pandemic learn how to use social media to boost their sales. She also started the ‘wear that mini’ campaign – a form of push-back at an ill social construct that how a woman dresses encourages sexual violence.”

samuelmhindo@gmail.com

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