Museveni, State House, Presidential Press Unit (PPU) and the media fraternity of Uganda mourns the demise of one James Kiggundu, a distinguished photographer who served at the State House Presidential Press Unit (PPU) for several decades, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 70 due to kidney failure. Kiggundu’s illustrious career spanned six administrations within the State House PPU, documenting key moments in Uganda’s history. His career began in the early 1980s when he joined the Terehe Sita movement and later participated in the guerrilla war that brought President Museveni to power in 1986.
During the war, Kiggundu played a crucial role in the information team, capturing significant moments on camera and forming a deep connection with President Museveni. Despite facing perilous situations, including an attack by militants, he continued his dedication to documenting the war’s events. After President Museveni assumed power in 1986, Kiggundu resumed his private photography business in Kampala.
In the early 1990s, he joined the Ministry of Defence in the Information and Communications department before becoming a State House photographer under the PPU. Kiggundu ascended through the ranks, eventually becoming the official photographer in 1999. Alongside William Rujuta, he pioneered the Presidential Photo Library, contributing significantly to documenting events from the 1960s to the present.
Kiggundu, described as a diligent worker and master storyteller, continued to make significant contributions even after his official retirement in 2014. He played a key role in managing the President’s photos and volunteered at the photo desk, working until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apart from his professional achievements, Kiggundu was known for his strong beliefs and active involvement in the Fathers’ Union. His wife, Magaret Kiggundu, described him as “a hard worker, a creative, and highly passionate man when it came to his job.”
Kiggundu’s health began deteriorating in 2017, and he faced multiple health challenges, including prostate cancer and kidney failure. Despite the financial challenges, Kiggundu’s family sought medical assistance, including support from State House. He passed away at his residence in Kabowa, leaving behind a legacy of nearly 50 years of dedication to photography.
He was laid to rest at his family’s ancestral grounds in Kanzira A Village, Kigalama, Kasanda District, and is survived by his wife, 17 children, and grandchildren.
About James Kiggundu
- Born: October 22, 1953
- Education: Studied Photography and Videography at Kabeta School of Photography in Nairobi, Kenya.
- Career: Joined State House in the early 1980s, serving in the Presidential Press Unit for over three decades.
- Achievements: Pioneered the Presidential Photo Library, documenting Uganda’s history from the 1960s to the present.
Credit: Ankole Times.