Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has eulogised the late former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Cosmas Matongo Kato, as a person who cherished, promoted and advocated for unity among the people of Bunyoro.
Addressing mourners at the former Principal Judge’s burial, the Omuhikirwa (Prime Minister) of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Andrew Kirungi Byakutaaga, said Kato’s love for oneness was evidenced when he declined an offer after a section of Bagungu approached him to accept to be their king in case their botched hatched plan to secede from Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom materialised.
Bagungu are a sub-group of the Banyoro tribe who live in Bugungu.
“One day, the deceased told me that some Banyoro from Bugungu in Buliisa district approached and told him that being that highly educated, he should be the cultural leader of Bagungu; an offer he vehemently declined,” Mr Byakutaaga told the mourners.
Adding: “He instead vowed to pay allegiance to the Bunyoro kingdom and lectured them how they could win and solve their social problems better when they remained united under Bunyoro kingdom.”
The Omuhikirwa eulogised Kato as a person who served the kingdom diligently when Omukama (King) Sir Tito Winyi appointed him as Sub-county Chief for Miirya and Kiziramfumbi in Masindi and current Kikuube districts respectively in 1961.
Before his demise, Kato was a member of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom’s Royal Commission, an appointment the Omuhikirwa said the deceased did well by advising the kingdom conscientiously.
The Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera, said Kato was a strong consultancy pillar who even in his retirement, judicial officers used to approach him for advice and guidance on legal matters.
“Even in his retirement, we used to consult him how to address issues affecting the judiciary and he ably guided us in line with his unmatched legal expertise.”
Justice Ralph W. Ochan, the chairperson of the Public Service Commission remembered Kato as a judicial officer who guided him when he joined legal practice.
“When I had just joined the legal profession, I was not that much conversant with the law. But he helped me a lot. He was an honest friend,” Said Mr Ochan.
Kato was born in 1934 and went to Nyamigisa Primary School in Masindi before joining St. Leo’s Virika Secondary School in Kabarole. He later attended Nsamizi Law School for a Diploma in Law and later went to Law Development Centre for a Diploma in Legal Practice.
The deceased went to the Council for Legal Education (University of London) where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Law.
Kato served as the Acting Principal Judge, Resident Judge Jinja, Justice of the Appellant Court, member of the Judicial Service Commission before he retired on April 2, 2004 as Supreme Court Judge.
Kato, 87, who rose through ranks having started as a Grade 3 magistrate, succumbed to throat cancer on April 23, 2021 in a Kampala hospital. He was laid to rest at his home in Mparo Cell, East Division in Hoima City.
He is survived by children and grand children.