By NELSON NATURINDA
Bank of Uganda (BoU) governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile was an exceptional economist and committed civil servant, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said on Friday afternoon as he eulogised the economist.
He praised Mr Mutebile for helping to “fix the economy” that was in shambles Museveni took over power in 1986.
The President was addressing mourners at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds during the official funeral ceremony for the late economist.
Mr Mutebile died on Sunday morning at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, at the age of 72.
President Museveni credited Mr Mutebile with fighting inflation, liberalising forex exchange and privatisation, which saw the growth of private sector in the country.
He, however, said that Mr Mutebile, Africa’s longest serving Central Bank governor, misled him when he advised him to sell Uganda Commercial Bank.
He said the economist convinced him that the sale would result in bringing the interest rates down, but this did not happen.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a message read by Kenya’s Central Bank governor Patrick Njoroge, eulogised Mutebile, describing him as a pillar of economics in the region.
The economist’s widow Betty Mutebile described him as a gentleman, a quiet man, who always put his family first. They were married for 40 years, she said.
“Emmanuel respected everyone and made everyone feel special. He would not refuse anyone to see him. On Sundays, I would prepare a buffet, and he would have a one-on-one with everyone who wanted to see him,” Ms Mutebile said.
Parliament on Thursday paid tribute to Mr Mutebile after a motion was moved in his memory. The MPs eulogised Mutebile as “a distinguished gentleman” for his integrity and patriotism.
According to sources, Rwanda will be represented by the former African Development Bank president, Dr Donald Kaberuka, at the burial of Mutebile.
Dr Kaberuka will travel the 100km journey to Uganda through the Gatuna/Katuna border post, which Rwanda on Thursday said would be re-opened on January 31, 2022.
Dr Kaberuka, a former Finance minister, was the keynote speaker at the inaugural Tumusiime Mutebile Centre of Excellence (TMCE) business dialogue held in Kampala in 2018.
This will be the first visit to Uganda by a senior government official in a long time.
Meanwhile, about $110,000 has been budgeted for Mutebile’s burial on Sunday at his home village in Omurhita, Kabale, about 410km southwest of the capital Kampala.