Politicians from across the political divide have taken to social media to mourn the passing of Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, the longest-serving Governor of the Bank of Uganda.
Mutebile who has been struggling with ill health for some time, passed on this morning at Nairobi Hospital in Kenya, according to a statement issued earlier today signed by Deputy Governor Michael Atingi-Ego.
Minutes after the news broke, Ugandans from all walks of life including politicians expressed their shock at the news describing Mutebile as one of a small group of Ugandans who will have a lasting legacy on the country’s economic sector. Thomas Tayebwa, the government chief whip, in a Tweet, described Mutebile as an economic giant.
“You gave your all to your country and you were the bedrock of monetary policy. You have fought a good fight, you have finished the race but above all, you kept the faith in your God and your country,” Tayebwa’s stated.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Annet Anita Among also described Mutebile as an economic icon. “The great icon of our economic journey as a country, a banking genius and a patriot has rested. We shall hold on to his legacy of dedication to the service of his country,” Among’s message reads in part.
Norbert Mao, the President General of the Democratic Party said Mutebile was a dedicated civil servant who cared deeply about the economy of Uganda. “… I pay tribute to him for his laser-sharp focus on growth, low inflation and stability. Amidst storms, like Christopher Columbus, he had only one command: SAIL ON,” Mao said.
Veteran journalist Charles Onyango Obbo said Mutebile, disliked by those who were for a parasitic command economy, believed that in a free market, they could engineer a dramatic economic recovery.
The minister of health Dr Ruth Aceng eulogized Mutebile saying his works and wisdom will never be forgotten. “It will live on for decades to come. May God comfort your family in this trying time,” Aceng wrote on her Twitter handle.
The opposition Forum for Democratic Change political party using its official Twitter handles also described Mutebile as a great son of Uganda. “We have learnt of the death of the Governor Bank of Uganda Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile. We convey our condolences to the family, friends, staff of the bank and the country at large for the loss of the great son of Uganda. May his soul rest in peace,” FDC’s message reads.
Mutebile 73, had a love-hate relationship with politicians not only in the opposition but also in government. On various occasions, he rubbed the politicians in parliament the wrong way by reminding them that they had no power to sack him. In fact, one day he described it as rumblings in parliament that would pass when MPs bade for his blood over the decision to compensate businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba with 146 billion Shillings over the loss of tenders in Kampala markets.
In the end, it turned out that indeed the MPs resolutions were rumblings as he has been one of the very few people who have had President Museveni’s ear for a long time.