Mbarara mourns first district chairman
It was a sombre mood on Sunday afternoon as stories of former Assistant Chief Judge of the defunct Ankole Kingdom Hillary Katembeko were told in the Mbarara District Council.
Hillary Katembeko who passed away on Thursday in Kampala was honoured in the Mbarara district local government council hall where he chaired many meetings as the first Chairperson in 1988 both as interim and in full capacity then when it was called the Resistance Council.
During an extraordinary council sitting at Mbarara District Headquarters in Kamukuzi on Sunday Chaired by the District speaker Venansious Munanukye, the Council unanimously approved a resolution to name the 5kms Omurwestire-Orukire-Kabaare road after him.
His portrait has been hanging on the wall of fame for the District Council to view during the function.
The motion to name the Road was presented to the council by the Didas Tabaro and seconded by Jolly Kabwizi the District councillor representing persons with disabilities who also Contributed two million shillings towards the burial arrangements.
Katembeko a renowned lawyer started his career in 1964 after attaining a first-class Diploma in Uganda laws at Law training centre of Nsamizi in Entebbe.
After attaining a 1st class diploma Katembeko was admitted to the Inns of Court; a school of law in London where he was also admitted to the honourable society of the Middle Temple and called to the bar obtaining the decree of barrister At-Law.
Prior, Katembeko had in 1959 obtained a certificate in surveying from Survey Training School Entebbe
The richness of Katembeko’s Law knowledge earned him a position as the Archdiocese of Mbarara Chancellor and contacted by many for counsel services before being appointed as Sub County Magistrate with the then Ankole Kingdom Government in 1962.
Katembeko was later in 1963 promoted to Assistant Chief Judge in the Ankole Kingdom government where he served until 1970 when he joined the Uganda Judiciary as Magistrate Grade 1.
In 1971 he was appointed Assistant Chief Registrar of the High Court and Chief Magistrate for Masaka Chief Magistrate circuit until 1975 when he resigned to join private practice and subsequently registered with Uganda Law Society and opened up his firm M/S Katemebeko and Advocates.
In 1980 the late Katembeko joined politics when he offered to contest for the National Assembly seat for Kashari County on the Democratic Party ticket against Fred Ibabaza Kamugira who stood on the ticket of UPM and Patrick Rubeheyo who was standing on the ticket of UPC. Katembeko lost the race.
In 1989 Hillary Katembembeko was elected district councilor for Rubindi Sub County to the District Council and served in the interim Capacity and then he was elected by the councilors as district Chairperson a capacity in he served for one year.
In 2006 he again contested for the district councillorship against the current district chairperson Didas Tabaro but he again lost.
Pascal Byaruhanga the cousin to the late Katembeko left everyone in awe when he narrated how the deceased survived the Idi Amin regime after a case he handled when he was a Chief magistrate in Masaka.
He said, “Katembeko chose to resign from the judiciary because of his truth and open-handedness he applied in case that he handled in Masaka in 1974 that involved Amin’s Henchmen, he was kidnapped after the ruling taken to Makindye, spent a month in a dungeon and upon his return he resigned and join private service in 1975”.
Former Urban minister Urban Tibamanya described the deceased as a person who was open-minded towards development and who hated corruption.
Wilson Bacondoza, the Male Older Persons District representative eulogized the late for being a calm and noble person who never fought for power but advised those that wanted to join politics.
Venansi Munanukye the district Speaker said the late did a lot for the district and country and many benefited from his leadership skills as he mentored them.
Didas Tabaro District Chairperson said the deceased participated in the war to liberate this country in the 1980s and also offered free legal services to those that wanted to contest for leadership and also those that had land issues.
Easton Mwine Rwamafa the Ruhumba-Rubindi Town Council district councillor said the late Katembeko was a hardworking man who would never start or end a conversation without advising his friends and workmates to work hard.
The District Councilors appreciated the tremendous work the late did for Mbarara district, especially in the agricultural sector since he was a model farmer. Katembeko has died at 87 of elderly complications and will be buried in Rubindi Sub Count, Mbarara on Monday.