By Dr Mesharch Katusiime
Before I closely interacted with Mzee David Bashakara, I used to read about him in newspapers as a powerful Town Clerk of Mbarara Municipality at a time when decentralization was decentralization. In the late 1990s and early 2000s local governments to a big extent had political, administrative and financial autonomy unlike today. I partly decided to pursue Public Administration as a discipline of study because I wanted to be like him at some point.
I came to interact with Mr. David Bashakara for the first time when I met him in Jinja district at a time when I was supervising my internship students. He was happy to learn I was teaching his son Mr. Frank Agaba who was pursuing Public Administration and Management at UCU. I was the Head of Department Public Administration and Governance.
We didn’t interact much thereafter until he retired as Town Clerk. After his retirement, I closely followed his voluntary work in community projects especially regarding education. He has died at a time when St William Secondary School in Kiziba has just been grant aided thanks to his struggles together with that of his colleagues. We could spend time discussing ways of strengthening community partnerships with educational institutions especially when I was appointed as VC AWU. He encouraged me to meet the priests of the Catholic Church to explain the values of AWU and market it beyond her Anglican roots something I did very well.
During the last concluded parliamentary elections for Sheema Municipality, he was one of those at the forefront of fighting against selfish leadership. His struggle to ensure unity in diversity in Sheema district is well known. At times this required the intervention of HE President Museveni to calm the religious and political tempers. Approximately a month ago on an evening like this one, he called me wondering my whereabouts after the hotly parliamentary elections. Not many friends of mine have done that. That showed me the love and care the old man possessed. I told him I will find him at his serene home to discuss the way forward on issues he was passionate about – politics of development.
It was therefore shocking me to learn this evening that the man has just passed away.
Having said all that let me add that Mr. Bashakara was a wise man and a community worker and no doubt we will miss him. In brief, Mr. Bashakara led by example, and taught me numerous life lessons of what it takes to become a man:
1. Work hard, and rewards will always follow;
2. Show respect and courtesy to others;
3. Be honest and loyal to your friends;
4. Don’t ever be afraid to make mistakes; just make sure you always learn from them;
5. Be positive, supportive, and always give encouragement;
6. Share with others who are less fortunate, and give without asking anything in return;
7. Immerse yourself and respect the world’s different cultures, religions, traditions, and people.
I will miss him! I am sure he touched many other people as he did to me. Rest in Peace Muzei Bashakara. You did your part. Turyakushangayo!
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