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Uganda Pays Tribute to National Anthem Composer

  • Peter Clottey

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni talks during a news conference at the Nakasero State Lodge in the capital Kampala, Uganda, (file photo)

Uganda’s Information minister says George William Kakoma, the composer of the country’s national anthem, will be buried Saturday following a state funeral.

Karooro Okurut described Kakoma as a hero. She said the composer helped the nation carve out its identity after it gained independence from former colonial power, Britain, in 1962.

“The government is going to give him an official burial and is going to pay tribute… to this fallen hero of Uganda, who carved out Uganda’s identity through composing the national anthem,” said Okurut.

“We will recognize his contribution… and we will meet all the funeral expenses, but also very importantly, Uganda is celebrating our jubilee this year, 50 years of independence. And it is a tragedy that Professor Kakoma is not going to be part of this celebration. But the government will honor him during the celebrations slated for late this year.”

The late national composer is to be buried at his ancestral home in Kavumba, Wakiso.

Prime Minister Amman Mbabazi expressed the government’s heartfelt condolences to Kakoma’s family, saying the composer will always be remembered as a patriot.

The government said Kakoma, 89, died peacefully in his bed on Easter Sunday. Ugandan parliamentarians paid him tribute at a special session Thursday in the capital, Kampala.

Opposition Chief Whip Winfred Kiiza was quoted as saying “when I look that the wording of our national anthem, the fallen professor looked at a Uganda that looks forwards for co-existence, empowered Ugandans and I see a real hero in the professor. That’s why I feel that he needs to be recognized as a hero. He acted as a guide and torch for Uganda, even in times of sorrow and bitterness; war and peace; we have all found refuge in the national anthem. What a hero you were Professor Kakoma.”

Information Minister Okurut called on Ugandans to unite as the country mourns and celebrates the life of its national anthem composer.

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