By Allen Kisakye
Many will probably remember him as the minister who hobnobbed with Zari during the #TulambuleNeZari tourism campaign. Others might know him as the minister who launched and tried to sell the chapatti/egg combo locally known as ‘Rolex’ to the world. However, there are many things you might know about the Mityana South legislator and the Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi.
Born in 1978 and raised Busunju in Mityana district, Hon. Kiwanda is a family man with eight children alongside partner Veronica Nanono. His eldest son is completing his O’Levels at St. Mary’s College, Kisubi. He is a ‘Salongo’, a title reserved for a father of twins.
Hon. Kiwanda did not join politics in Parliament for he has always served in many leadership roles through his primary, secondary and university education.
At St Joseph Primary School, Busunju, Kiwanda served as the head boy while in his Primary Six and Seven. He later joined St Francis Busunju for his O’Level. Here he served as the head prefect throughout all the years (from Senior One to Senior Four).
He then joined St Francis Mengo, and there he served as the head prefect in Senior Five and Senior Six. He later joined Makerere University in 1997, graduating with a Bachelors in Economics.
At Makerere University, he didn’t engage much in the university politics but served as the mess minister, Lumumba Hall.
He completed university in 2000 and before he could finish his studies, he contested for Mityana North Parliamentary seat in a by-election to replace Emmanuel Kilenga who had passed on. Unfortunately he was defeated by Dr. Gordon Ssematiko. Ssematiko served for one year and was replaced by the 23-year-old Kiwanda in the Seventh Parliament 2001-2006.
However, during his term of office in Parliament, he did not do much for his people and in the 2006 elections, the constituents did not vote him again.
But President Museveni had already noticed his leadership skills and appointed him Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Kabong, Karamoja region for the years 2007 -2010. According to Kiwanda, his term, while serving as an RDC made him realize the importance of good leadership and he also gained a lot of experience and political maturity.
Because of his political maturity, Mityana North people trusted him with their votes and sent him back to the Parliament 2011 -2016 elections. Through this term in Parliament, Kiwanda also served as the chairperson Buganda caucus.
He won another term to represent his people in 2016 – 2021 and was one of the new faces on Cabinet, landing the State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities’ docket.
In his term as minister, Kiwanda has done a lot towards promoting the tourism industry in Uganda. He launched the Rolex as one of the country’s many wonders. The annual ‘Rolex Festival’ is currently one of the biggest events of the year.
Currently he is running a campaign under his ministry called ‘Tourism and Digital Transformation’. This campaign is meant to create awareness of all tourism sites in Uganda to everyone across the globe, and to help the ministry reach its set target of four million visitors by 2020.
Never employed before, Kiwanda prides himself in working only for government.
“The only job I have ever done aside from politics was working as a Director at my school called Success Academy, Namigavu.
Life away from politics
Honorable Kiwanda is a sports man, often seen terrorizing defenders as he represents the Parliamentary Sports Team. He also does cycling especially in the morning with his colleagues in the ‘Jamie Family’.
He is farmer who grows coffee, matooke and rears cows for milk production.
He also loves music and enjoys songs by Mesach Semakula, Catherine Kusaasira and Rema Namakula.