The name Badru Wegulo is well known to many Ugandans, especially those who belong to the Uganda Peoples’ Congress.
Hajji Badru Kendo Wegulo was born in 1934 in the then Bukedi district. A former teacher and headmaster at Busolwe Muslim Primary School in Mbale, Hajji Wegulo was spotted as a good leader by former UPC President Dr Apollo Milton Obote, who inspired him to join politics.
Hajji Wegulo started his political journey by becoming the Secretary General of the UPC in Bukedi district and, together with the likes of the Kasajja Byakika, formed the backbone of UPC support in the Bukedi region during the 1960s.
When Obote was overthrown in 1971, Hajji Wegulo did not go into exile like most of his UPC colleagues; he instead chose to live a low life and continued teaching. He became the acting Chairman of the UPC after the mysterious death of John Babiiha but was also to be named the Chairperson of the Central Scholarships Committee by Idi Amin.
In 1980, he contested for the Bukedi North East Constituency, (today comprising of Butaleja, part of West Budama and Pallisa) but lost to one Dr Mudangha.
It was after his electoral loss that he fully became UPC Chairman, a position he held up to July 27 1985, when Obote government was overthrown by the military led by Lieutenant General Tito Okello Lutwa and Brigadier Bazilio Olara Okello. During the six-month government of Gen Lutwa, Hajji Wegulo was appointed the Minister of Labour until Yoweri Museveni captured power on January 26, 1986.
During the Museveni regime, Hajji Wegulo was named a member of the of the UPC Presidential Policy Commission (PPC) by Dr Obote, first serving under Cecilia Ogwal and later under the former Culture Minister James Rwanyarare.
In a surprise move, in 2001 President Museveni appointed him Senior Presidential Advisor on Political Affairs, but Hajji rejected the offer. Then in 2004 Hajji Wegulo was named Chairperson of the UPC Constitutional Steering Committee, a body that oversaw the registration of UPC as a political party during the era of the return to multi-partyism.
Given his central role in the activities of the UPC, Hajji Wegulo was caught in between when the party developed internal wrangles.
Then in a surprise move in November 2010 he, together with Henry Mayega and Osinde Wangor, defected to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM). At the time the trio accused then UPC leader Ambassador Olara Otunnu of mismanaging party affairs.
At the time when asked by The Observer’s Tash Lumu how he wanted to be remembered Hajji Wegulo said: ‘I want people to remember me as a nationalist; somebody who wanted peace so that the future generation can be more comfortable. And lastly, as somebody who was sincere and not interested in money-making.’
He also said foreign affairs minister Sam Kahamba Kutesa and presidential Advisor on Defence and Security General Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh are some of the people who, alongside his people in Butaleja, convinced him to join the NRM.
At the time of his death aged 81 Hajji Badru Kendo Wegulo has been serving as a Presidential Advisor.
Such was the life of one of the illustrious sons of Uganda.
May his soul rest in peace.