Thursday 19th Aug 2021
Day 1, I call her phone, not picking.
Day 2 not picking still but later I receive a phone from a different line. The young man introduced himself as a son to Hajjat Nakitende. And said “Who are you and what do you want from her?” I respond “My name is Kivumbi Earnest Benjamin, I am a Journalist and a Politician, Hajjat is my special friend and we stay at the same village, Namasuba Hill.”
The young man breaks the bad news; “Am sorry to let you know that mummy passed on almost 2 months ago.”
I froze yesterday while he spoke to me on phone because every single memory and moments came back to me about Hajjat.
Hadijah Nakitende, was one of the founders of The Sunrise Newspaper, in fact the architect.
I had no idea when she passed-on on the Monday morning of June 21, 2021, after being diagnosed with cervical cancer a year before!
According to a publication I have seen at The Sunrise News Website, this is her story; Following the closure of the first Uganda Airlines, Nakitende teamed up with colleagues in the Public Relations department, and with a team of seasoned journalists to found the news paper in September 2000.
As Kivumbi, in quest for publicity while pursuing my political career at age 19 during my S.6 vacation 2008 I knocked at The Sunrise door, 1st Floor at the National Theater Kampala. I introduced myself to this lady I didn’t know as an aide to Hon John Ken Lukyamuzi – The Man (Conservative Party -CP President & Former Lubaga South Member of Parliament). Hajjat welcomed and introduced me to her colleagues in the newsroom including Henry Lutaaya, Daniel Tatya and others.
I kept disturbing them since that time and whenever I would come she would ask her colleagues “Kivumbi mumukozeko?” Meaning Have you work worked on Kivumbi.
The greatest publication I got from Sunrise was when Henry Lutaaya published a full-page interview with me titled “21 YEAR OLD FOR MP KAMPALA CENTRAL” Mr. Lutaya took this photo of me while at there office in 2010 when People’s Development Party -PDP of Hon Dr Abed Bwanika had given me flag to contest, I was the party Deputy Spokesperson then.
Hajjat’s team never abandoned me alongside other loyal media houses. They ran stories about my political activities including demonstrations I led in Kampala, Arrests by Police and covered my legal battles with the State.
Surprisingly, even when I left the opposition after a closed 4 hour meeting with the Head of State. H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at State House in 2012, Hajjat never turned tables against me like Don Wanyama did. Oooops! I remember Don, then sub-editor with Daily Monitor confronted me with his colleagues at the National Theater. Don almost strangled me as he questioned me “Why have you betrayed the struggle?” Don didn’t know he would also join NRM, One time I bumped into his office he had gotten at State House replacing President Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi and I joked “Don how did you get here?” And I reminded him attacking me in 2012. He now heads Vision Group, ‘Don togana kumpa publicity at NV’
Back to Hajjat, one evening I boarded a bus to Namasuba with her and I asked her why even after crossing to NRM she continued blessing me. She answered “I have always believed in you and I believe one time your dream of becoming President will come true.” I felt like hair getting off me and I kept quite.
In 2014 she attended my wedding with Princess Scovia, brought us gifts and also gave us full-colour pictorial pages in the Sunrise.
Let me be open, this woman has never gotten any coin from me, all she has been doing is for free.
Rest in Peace Hajjat Nakitende Hadija
I have been told on 29th this month is her last funeral rites in Gomba, Mpigi.
We shall forever miss you.–
My sunrise Publication