The Permanent Secretary to the Office of the Prime Minister and former Head of Treasury Keith Muhakanazi has died.
He had his last breath in Italy where he had been flown for further management following several months of illness.
According to close sources, Muhakanizi has been in and out of office since 2021 owing to sickness. Indeed, even when he was posted to the OPM from Treasury, the technocrat was away in Turkey receiving treatment.
The government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo confirmed Muhakanizi’s death.
He described him as a “friend to many”.
Keith Muhakanizi was Permanent Secretary Prime Minister’s Office, and former long-serving PS Ministry of Finance & Secretary to the Treasury.
Muhakanizi shot to prominence during his long stewardship of the Finance docket.
He was a no-nonsense manager who often stared down at his supervisors in parliament while defending government budgets and expenditures they deemed to be too high. Muhakanizi often defended the budgets quipping that the rationale was beyond some of the outraged legislators.
He worked in tandem with BoU Governor Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile to pivot the Ugandan economy from a socialist leaning towards a capitalist system and together they are credited for restoring foreign investor confidence in the Ugandan economy with their policies and management styles that chimed with World Bank and IMF recommendations. This included steadily withdrawing the government from the business and encouraging private enterprise.
Critics, however, argue that the little to no hands approach in vital sectors of the economy like medic care, power and education were ultimately responsible for creating a rapacious private class that put profit before public good.