Tayebwa: Uganda lost a brilliant agricultural economist

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Tayebwa was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in addition to diabetes mellitus and hypertension, ailments he struggled with for about 15 years until he developed kidney failure that prompted a transplant surgery

When the news that Bernard Tayebwa had passed on spread, it was hard to miss the sadness and shock his death provoked. Many took to social media to lament the death of a man whose works they say propelled them in their education journey.
Mr Dan Ngabonziza tweeted: “Rest in Peace Bernard Tayebwa… a great man. The world of economics, especially East Africa is mourning! What a loss!!!!”
Mr Arinaitwe Rugyendo, a journalist and one of the Red Pepper Publications Limited directors, also took to Twitter to eulogise the former lecturer, saying that Tayebwa’s pamphlet decided his admission on government sponsorship to Makerere University in 1996. “RIP Bernard Tayebwa. You are a legend!” Mr Rugyendo tweeted.
Tayebwa, a former Makerere agriculture economics lecturer, whose books and pamphlets helped many students in their academics, has been eulogised as an intelligent academician, loving father and a hardworking man. He succumbed to hypertension and diabetes at Mulago hospital on Wednesday morning aged 54. But he did not go down without a fight as he, his family and friends had done all they could to save his life.
Tayebwa was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in addition to diabetes mellitus and hypertension, ailments he struggled with for about 15 years until he developed kidney failure that prompted a transplant surgery.
He was admitted to Mulago Hospital where Dr Gyaviira Makanga said he would need surgery to have the transplant in India. The surgery alone cost an estimated Shs108m. Tayebwa’s family, well-wishers and friends put in place an organising committee to fundraise and coordinate the activities towards his treatment and according to Mr Sam Rugaba, a close friend and the chairman of the committee, they were successful.
“He underwent a successful kidney transplant in February this year in India and his condition had improved but towards late September, he started getting attacks again and died on Wednesday,” Mr Rugaba said.
During a Requiem Mass at Our Lady of Africa Church Mbuya on Thursday, Ms Caroline Atuhaire Tayebwa, his daughter, praised her departed father for looking after her and other siblings single-handedly, following the death of their mother about 20 years ago.
Ms Atuhaire eulogised her fallen father as “a strong man with a loving heart.”
“He was strong, intelligent and a loving father who had advice for everyone,” Ms Atuhaire added. Ms Mary Gyezaho, a cousin, who looked after Tayebwa during his sickness, eulogised him as a down-to-earth academician who was pro-people.
“He has educated more than 30 children. He was a kind and loving man,” she said.
Tayebwa was also eulogised as a bright man who was open-minded. But he will mostly be remembered for the way he tried to demystify the subject of economics for students in secondary school.
Students who benefited from many of his publications, especially, the A-Level Economics textbook titled, Basic Economics, described him as a legend on their social media platforms.
A cousin, Yoram Mugarura, described Tayebwa as a loving man whose academic work has benefited the entire country while Makerere University Vice-Chancellor John Ddumba Ssentumu, who taught Mr Tayebwa in the early 1980s as an undergraduate student, described him as a committed economist.
“He was my student and he wrote an economics book for A-Level students,” Prof Ddumba said, adding: “He was a very devoted guy.”
Mr Tayebwa was laid to rest yesterday at his ancestral home in Kabatsi village in Kajara, Ntungamo District.

Who is Tayebwa

Mr Tayebwa held a Master’s Degree in Agriculture Economics and a Post-graduate diploma. He taught at Makerere University between 1987 to 2007 as a lecturer of economics and agriculture economics.
In 1994, he worked as a revenue officer at the Uganda Revenue Authority and as a consultant at the World Bank Institute between 1998 and 2005. In 2008, he served as the chairperson of the Network of Ugandan Researchers and Research Users (Nurru) before becoming manager at the Agribusiness Unit at Uganda Co-operative Alliance in 2009. From 2010 up to the time of this death, Mr Tayebwa worked as the chief executive officer of the Genuine Publishers and Consultants (Gepuco).
He was also pursuing his doctorate in philosophy (PhD) in agricultural economics. He was also one of the founders of Kibatsi Development Association (KDA), a community-based organisation. Mr Tayebwa will be remembered for mentoring many students at all levels of education in Uganda and at the Earth University in Costa Rica. He was laid to rest yesterday at his ancestral home in Kabatsi village in Kajara, Ntungamo District.

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