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Uganda:Family, nation celebrate life of diplomat Njuneki
Published on 11-09-2016 - at 01:31' by Daily Monitor

The diplomat, born on January 28, 1960, collapsed and died aboard a plane last week in Johannesburg, South Africa.

To members of the diplomatic fraternity, Ambassador Gilbert Najuna Njuneki was an open-minded, hardworking and principled man.

During his burial on Friday at his ancestral home in Nyakahandagazi, Mitooma District relatives and friends celebrated his life rather than grief to honour his stellar family record and career.

The diplomat, born on January 28, 1960, collapsed and died aboard a plane last week in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Since he had no sign of sickness, many versions of his demise had been given but a postmortem report was released on Thursday indicted he had died of a heart attack.

Dr Eddie Mworozi, a consultant physician, said the results of the autopsy conducted in South Africa “confirmed that Njuneki had died of natural causes and mainly a heart attack”.
However, Dr Mworozi, a physician and close friend to the 56-year-old, said previous medical history had indicated Njuneki was healthy.

At the burial ceremony on Friday, Dr Mworozi said: “I knew Njuneki was well and in good health until when I got news that he had died on a flight. Forensic pathologists examined his body and found that he had succumbed to cardiac arrest,” he said
He eulogised Njuneki as a disciplinarian from whom he would seek advice and permission to do some things.

Official assignment
Mr Gibson Nsiimire, Njuneki’s young brother, said the ambassador was on official duty in Europe and was on his way back to Kampala via South Africa.

Njuneki, according to Nsiimire, had told his family he would be with them on September 4, 2016 at 2.30pm.
“Unfortunately on transit at Johannesburg Airport, he developed complications on the plane and collapsed,” Mr Nsiimire told mourners on Friday

“God killed Njuneki”, Mr Nsiimire said, warning that no one should speculate on the cause of his death.

Njuneki, Mr Nsiimire said, exhibited wonderful love for family and friends.

Lay Canon Jane Bareiregye Njuneki, the mother of the deceased, told mourners that her son had always promised to do well for the family and he lived to the promise.

Ms Jayne Atieno Odhiambo, who fondly referred to Njuneki as “my sweet heart”, said her husband was a God-fearing man who brought salvation to friends, his family and people around him.

His children, Georgina and Alex Njuneki praised their father for the love he clothed them with during his time with them on earth.

In his speech, delivered by State Minister of Defence, Bright Rwamirama, President Museveni praised Njuneki as a straight forward, open-minded and hardworking man, who served Uganda diligently.

“I specifically appointed him as the ambassador special duties to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in July 2012,” said President Musevni, adding that at the time of his death, Njuneki was spearheading the commercial diplomacy initiative.

Vice President Edward Sekandi also praised Njuneki, in the speech read for him by Ms Jovah Kamateeka, the Mitooma District Woman MP.

“He was a source of inspiration to the delegation he had gone with for official duties. His team work should be emulated,” he said.

In the whole, Njuneki was eulogised as a man of integrity, a generous, honest and principled officer who gave his life to Jesus Christ at the age of 16.

Njuneki becomes the second high-ranking Uganda government official to die on a flight, following the death of then Internal Affairs minister Aronda Nyakairima aboard an Emirates plane while returning from South Korea.

Njuneki was born in Nyakahandagazi, Ruhinda in the current Mitooma District to Gerisomu Njuneki and Jane Bareiregye.

He attended Ruhinda Primary School, before proceeding to Ntare School for both his Ordinary and Advanced level education.

Njuneki obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration from Makerere University Business School and a Master of Business Administration from the Anglo American University College London.

He worked in various organisations, including Christian Reformed World Relief Committee.

At the time of his death, Njuneki had worked for the Foreign Affairs ministry for more than four years as ambassador in charge of commercial diplomacy projects and programmes.

He also worked as the officer in-charge of diaspora community and coordinated the Ugandan aspect of the regional Northern Corridor Infrastructure projects.

Profile

Amb Gilbert Najuna Njuneki

Age. 56

Background. Njuneki was born in Nyakahandagazi, Ruhinda in current Mitooma District to Gerisomu Njuneki and Jane Bareiregye Njuneki.

Education. He attended Ruhinda Primary School and Ntare School for both his Ordinary and Advanced education level. He obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration from Makerere University Business School and a Master of Business Administration from Anglo American University College London.

Work experience. He worked at the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, before moving to the Foreign Affairs Ministry where he worked in various capacities including ambassador in charge of commercial diplomacy projects and programme, and the officer in-charge of diaspora community. He also coordinated the Ugandan aspect of the regional Northern Corridor Infrastructure projects.

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Njuneki’s casket is lowered into the grave during his burial in Mitooma District on Friday.

Kwamamaza
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