President Yoweri Museveni has commended the late Christopher Kassami, former Secretary to the Treasury, for the key role that he played in the revival of the national economy that had collapsed in the 1980s before the National Resistance Movement (NRM) took over power in 1986.
The President was paying his tribute to the late Kassami during a Requiem Mass that was held yesterday at Virika Cathedral in Fort Portal Municipality to pray for the repose of the soul of late Kassami. The Bishop of Fort Portal Diocese, Rt. Rev. Robert Muhiirwa, led the Mass assisted by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Sabiiti Mugenyi and a number of priests. The funeral service attracted a big of the former Permanent Secretary and secretary to the Treasury Christopher Kassami that was attended by big gathering or mourners from various parts of the country and the region.
The late Kassami passed on in Nairobi Hospital in Kenya last week due to cardiac arrest. He was 68 years old and had been hospitalized in Kenya for 3 weeks. The late Kassami graduated from the University of Dar-es-Salaam with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics in 1972.
I commend Kasssami for his leading role in the recovery of Ugandas economy. It had gone down and there were no essential commodities in 1986. He was part of the group of people that made one very important contribution of limited surgery to the national economy,” the President said. He observed that among others on the same team were Bank of Uganda Governor, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and Mr. James Kahooza. The President was pleased to note that Ugandas economy has today recovered and is growing. He reminded the people of Uganda not to forget reiterated the leading roles of Prof. Tumusiime Mutebile, Mr. James Kahooza and the late Christopher Kassami.
President Museveni further told the mourners that the trio Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, Mr. James Kahooza and Chris Kassami – worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to control inflation by restricting money supply. He added that the measures also led to the liberalization of the Ugandan economy whereby the State withdrew from some businesses ventures such as the transport sector. He observed that when the State was involved in the business sector, it actually meant denial of opportunity to the private sector to carry out business. He noted that when the State divested from the business sector, the measure led to the expansion of transport hub in the country and an explosion in the growth of the hotel industry was realized.
Mr. Museveni informed the mourners in particular and Ugandans in general that the reforms were fundamental in the national economic growth. He noted that the team of Prof. Tumusiime Mutebile, Mr. James Kahooza and the late Chris Kassami, had complimented the freedom fighters adding that the work of the 3 technocrats, benefited the country immensely leading to the promotion of private sector led economic growth whereby the country was transformed from the traditional sector to a money economy.
President Museveni said that the late Kassami has died at a young age adding that it was a big loss to the country and to the family. He called on the Kassami family to uphold his name and prayed to God to grant the late Chris Kassamis soul eternal peace.
Later, at the family home in Kasusu, Fort Portal Municipality, the President who interacted with mourners, thanked the people of Tooro for voting wisely in the 2016 elections. He assured them that whoever wants to cause conflicts in the country would not manage.
The widow, Ms. Polly Kassami, saluted President Museveni for assisting the family. She described her husband as a very simple, humble and committed person who was very thorough in his work. She said that her late husband was very generous and always available for the family.
In a condolence message to the family, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya extended his condolences to President Museveni and to the people of Uganda upon the death of Chris Kassami. He observed that the late Kassami worked tirelessly for the economic development of the East African region adding that the regional bloc and Africa at large have lost an experienced economist.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, in a message read by Central Bank of Rwanda Governor, John Rwangomba, revealed that the late Kassami has contributed a lot to Uganda and to the East African Community as well as to the East African Development Bank.
The Omukama of Tooro, His Highness Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi, said the Kingdom was in deep sorrow upon the demise of Kassami. In a speech delivered on his behalf by the Omuhikirwa (Prime minister), Bernard Tungwako, the Omukama noted that the late Kassami had been Tooros pillar and a good government servant.
On his part, the Omukama of Bunyoro, His Highness Solomon Gafabusa Iguru, in a message delivered by Dr. Kihumuuro Apuuli, expressed condolences to the people of Tooro upon the death of Mr. Kassami.
Tooros Queen Mother, Best Kemigisa, commended the late Kassami for his service to the Kingdom of Tooro.
Kabarole LC 5 Chairman, Mr. Richard Rwabuhinga, observed that the late Kassami leaves a legacy of a lasting impression on the people of Fort Portal. He noted that the late Kassami was instrumental in reviving the construction of the Kampala- Fort Portal highway. He disclosed that the late Kassami facilitated several projects that have benefited wananchi such as Kabarole Hospital and the Mountains of the Moon University.
Fort Portal Municipality Member of Parliament, Hon. Alex Ruhinda, described the late Kassami as a hero in development who was gifted with exceptional talent.
May his soul rest in peace.