OBITUARY: By Watera Icon ,
The former Director General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health Prof. Anthony K. Mbonye is dead.
Mbonye, 58 is married to Lucy Nakyoobe, the outgoing state house comptroller and in coming head of public service. He (Prof Mbonye) is also a Professor at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University.
According to information from the state house of the republic of Uganda, Prof Mbonye died on Sunday morning in a Kampala hospital.
“We regret to announce the passing of Prof. Anthony Kabanza Mbonye, husband to Lucy Nakyobe Mbonye, the out going State house comptroller,” State House tweeted on Sunday.
Born in Rwenkobwa, Ibanda District, Western Uganda, Prof. Mbonye, joined the public service in 1986 at the the Ministry of Health as Director General of Health Services but resigned in 2018, following serious disagreements among the top technocrats.
Prof Mbonye resigned from Ministry of Health in 2018 after serving for more than 30 years. The ministry on Sunday said his immense contribution to the health sector will never be forgotten.
“The management of @MinofHealthUG has learnt w/deep sorrow of the demise of Prof. Anthony K Mbonye,former Ag.Director General Health Services. Prof.Mbonye’s immense contribution to the health sector will never be forgotten.May his legacy live on. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” the ministry tweeted.
Mbonye holds a PhD from the university of Copenhagen and has been teaching at Makerere University School of Public Health since 1996 and at the Uganda Christian University since 2008.
He also an author of numerous books including; “Uganda’s Health Sector – Through Turbulent Politics (1958-2018)” published in 2019, in which he Prof Mbonye he said the appointment of inexperienced junior officers to influential positions in the Health ministry had undermined the quality of services delivered by the sector.
“The immediate effect has been on the demoralisation of staff who feel that the institutional mechanism to advance their professional careers are no longer relevant,” Prof Mbonye wrote.
The book exposes internal fighting and power struggles that led to his resignation as director general of health services in charge of clinical and community health in January 2018.
In June 2016, Prof Mbonye was appointed acting Director General of Health Services. The Inspector General of Government later investigated claims that he had rewritten the job description to benefit him when interviews were conducted to fill the position substantially.
The IGG’s report noted a conflict of interest in Prof Mbonye not informing the Permanent Secretary, Dr Dr Diana Atwine of his application for the job and he was removed from his position in September 2017 then reinstated as he challenged the decision in the High Court.
On January 31, 2018, Justice Henrietta Wolayo dismissed the IGG’s findings and ruled that there had been no conflict of interest and that Prof Mbonye had not been given a fair hearing. The ruling came two days after Prof Mbonye had resigned.
“I no longer had confidence in their capacity to lead; and felt that I could no longer work alongside officers who leveraged the power of their undeserved positions and conducted themselves in such an unprofessional way,” he noted in his book.
In March 2019, Dr Atwine sued Prof Mbonye for allegedly defaming her in his book.
“In November 2018, the defendant [Prof Mbonye] authored and published a book titled ‘Uganda’s Health Sector through turbulent politics (1958-2018) with various chapters defaming the plaintiff [Dr Atwine],” read Dr Atwiine’s suit documents.