UGANDA: Former UPC stalwart Dick Nyai passes on

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Former Ayivu Member of Parliament Hon Dick Nyai. (Courtesy Photo)
By :

AT Team

Dick Nyai, who has not been in good health for some time, breathed his last on Wednesday afternoon.

He was rushed to Arua Referral Hospital on Tuesday evening where tests were carried out.

However, before results of the tests came out, he breathed his last. This was revealed during plenary by the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga. Burial arrangements are still underway.

Who was Dick Nyai?

Nyai, worked briefly with Uganda Argus in 1966, then taught from 1966-1969 before he joined the East Africa Community as Assistant Secretary in the Personnel Division in Tanzania between 1969 and 1979.

It was during his stay in Tanzania that he joined with groups that were planning to topple President Idi Amin after the latter attacked Tanzania in 1978.

Nyai, however did not fight using the gun. He found his way onto the airwaves on Radio Tanzania broadcasting anti Amin propaganda in Lugbara, his native language.

After the coup that toppled Amin, Nyai went back into journalism. He joined with others to start the People newspaper, a UPC mouthpiece, in 1980.

But the turbulent times were far from over as much for the country as for Nyai.

The rebels of the National Resistance Army at the time led by Yoweri Museveni were not keen on the military junta led by Gen. Tito Okello and continued fighting till when Milton Obote was toppled in a military coup in 1985.

In 1988 when he made his political debut, it was to contest for the county’s seat in the National Resistance Council where he lost.

He tried again in 1994 for the Constituent Assembly and won.

In the 1996 elections, Nyai again successfully defended his seat and served as representative for Ayivu County in Arua in the Sixth Parliament which seat he lost in 2001 to Ms Zo Bakoko Bakoru, who went on to become Minister before she fled the country.

Nyai is remembered for putting up a spirited fight in the Sixth Parliament, 1996-2001, where he opposed the sale of Uganda Commercial Bank.

He argued then that the sale of the bank; was not necessary and wondered why government would inject Shs 120bn to re-capitalise the bank and then sale it cheaply. He faulted government for not investigating Westmont Land Asia, the company that bought the bank and maintained that Ugandans were capable of buying shares in the bank at the time.

Some of the bills he moved successfully include the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that investigated the banking sector.

This bill followed the closure of three banks: International Credit Bank, Greenland Bank and Co-operative Bank almost at the same time as a result of financial scandals.

Many also credit him for being part of the lobby that finally got the Arua-Pakwach road tarred and the installation of the ferry at Wanseko-Panyimur as a transport alternative to West Nile travellers.

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