By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: On January, 23,2024, just a few days from now, will be exactly 2 years for Bank of Uganda without a substantive governor since the demise of professor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile.
Mutebile, born 27, January 1949, died on 23, January 2022 was a Ugandan economist and banker. He served as the governor of the Bank of Uganda, the central bank of Uganda from 2001 until his death.
Our reporter got an opportunity to seat with his wife, Mrs. Betty Mutebile Amooti for a one on one interaction recently while handing over her late husband’s Pan-African Pyramid Global Award, at Mutebile Foundation’s office at Nakawa Business Park, in Kampala.
From her narrative of a Mutebile, the father, parent, family man and chief advisor of his family tree, one gets to understand part of the reasons why the appointing could be taking long to find a replacement, even in his grave, two years later.
The tough, Banker Mutebile was extremely different from the Mutebile at home, his wife narrated.
“My husband was a perfectionist, an avid reader, to the extent that I had to put a library in his bath room, because he never wanted to waste any moment presented to him to read something in the book. While flying, daddy would pick his book as soon as he took his seat in the plane or in the car and only release it when disembarking,” she adds.
At Mutebile Foundation’s office in Nakawa,one may mistake it for a public library.
His wife Betty told our reporter that there’s a lot the public never knew about the other person of Mutebile, especially his philanthropism and humanism.
“For instance, my husband, for all the years I was with him, he never talked about anybody badly, even those he disagreed with, he never talked anything bad about them. He actually would tell us to think 99% and only talk 1%, that was his philosophy,” she added.
But Who Is Prof. Mutebile?
Tumusiime-Mutebile attended Kigezi College Butobere for his O-Level studies (grades S1-S4). He then attended Makerere College School in Kampala for his A-Level studies (grades S5-S6). In 1970, he entered Makerere University, where he was elected president of the university Students’ Guild.
He was forced to flee Uganda in 1972 after he gave a speech publicly criticizing the expulsion of Asians from the country by Idi Amin. He fled to England via Tanzania, and was able to finish his studies at Durham University, graduating with an upper-second in Economics and Politics.
In October 1974, he began his post-graduate studies at Balliol College, Oxford, before returning to East Africa. He entered the University of Dar es Salaam to lecture and conduct research while pursuing his doctorate in economics.
In 2009, Nkumba University, a private university based in Nkumba near Entebbe, awarded him an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree in recognition of his “great contribution towards the development of Uganda’s financial sector”.
Between the year 1979 and 1984, Tumusiime-Mutebile was appointed to several government positions in Uganda ranging from deputy principal secretary to the president at State House in 1979, to undersecretary in the ministry of planning in 1981 where he rose to senior economist and then chief economist in 1984.
In 1992, he was appointed permanent secretary to the newly combined ministry of finance planning & economic development, a merger that he had advocated while working under Minister of Finance Gerald Ssendaula.
He is the longest serving chief executive in the Bank of Uganda’s history. He is credited with many of the sound economic policies adopted by the Uganda government at the urging of the central bank during the 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s.
Since 2006, he has been a visiting professor in the Department of Economics at Makerere University, the oldest and largest university in Uganda.
Tumusiime-Mutebile has also been the chancellor of the International University of East Africa, a private university established in 2011, with an urban campus in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.
The Pan-African Pyramid, a non government organization based in Kampala, recently awarded the late professor Mutebile as Africa’s Iconic Economist, having among others, revolutionized the Banking Sector, not only in Uganda, but several African countries would jet into the country to benchmark and draw lessons from his structural leadership.