Tributes have started pouring in for the late Keith Muhakanizi, one of the longest-serving technocrats in President Museveni’s government who died last evening at the age of 64.
The Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and former secretary to the treasury succumbed to cancer in Milan, Italy.
Many people have eulogised him as a great icon behind Uganda’s economic transformation.
Former Minister of State for Labour, Mwesigwa Rukutana who worked with Muhakanizi at a time he was a Budget Director at the Ministry of Finance says Muhakanizi together with the late Chris Kassami and late Bank of Uganda Governor, Tumusiime Mutebile worked tirelessly on reforms under the supervision of President Museveni to support Uganda which at the time was labeled a highly indebted poor country
“These three departed comrades, under the supervision of President Museveni, worked very hard on the reforms that have shaped and transformed this economy. I remember the sleeplessness and endless meetings at the State House, in the Ministry Boardroom, in Washington and other capitals, putting our heads together to defend our country’s actions so that we could convince the donors not to cut aid or to grant us further advances. I remember the debates while formulating and presenting to Parliament the various laws that encompass the legal regime that facilitated and supported the transformation of the economy. Kassami, Keith, Mutebile were always at the forefront,” Rukutana said.
The president of the African Development Bank Group Akinwumi Adesina has described Muhakanizi as a smart public administrator who was a major force in Uganda’s development.
“An incredibly astute public administrator and friend. He was a major force in Uganda’s development for decades. A huge loss,” Adesina said.
Minister for Luwero-Rwenzori triangle, Alice Kaboyo says the deceased was a diligent public servant who offered technical leadership, wealth, and wisdom.
“Muhakanizi Keith was a diligent Public Servant who served the nation in different capacities. At the Office of the Prime Minister, we shall miss his wealth of wisdom, guidance, and technical leadership. May his Soul Rest in Peace.” Kaboyo noted.
Julius Mucunguzi, a former staff at OPM says the deceased was result-oriented and instilled discipline among workers.
“” When Keith Muhakanizi arrived at OPM he called a general meeting of all technical staff, from the lowest cadre to the commissioners and undersecretaries, and pledged the following: to restore confidence of staff, promote adherence to the law, ensure discipline & push for results,” Mucunguzi revealed.
As a macro-economist, and a public sector management specialist, Muhakanizi helped in the formulation of National Development Plans, the Public Finance and Management Act, and The Bank of Uganda Act among others.