Former Ugandan Tour Operators Association (AUTO) President Everest Kayondo lost his battle with COVID-19 on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. The sad news was announced to members by current AUTO President Civy Tumusiime, via an administrators WhatsApp. forum.
- It was confirmed during the forum that Kayondo died at Lifeline International Hospital located in Zana on Entebbe Road in Uganda.
- Kayondo was admitted to hospital last Saturday.
- He had been on oxygen for 2 days and was closely watched by his nephew who is a doctor while he was at Lifeline International.
In 2019, as president, Kayondo successfully championed the “Save Murchison Falls” campaign after the government backed permission to build a hydroelectric dam in Murchison Falls National Park. In December 2019, he led a group of tour operators, media and environmentalists to the top of the falls where he held a press conference demanding that the Ugandan government protect both the adjacent Uhuru and Murchison Falls by standing up. basing on as well as direct and indirect economic value to Uganda. The engineer of the Minister of Energy, Irene Muloni, was sacked a few days later and the Minister of Tourism Ephraim Kamuntu was transferred to the Ministry of Justice.
In October 2020, Kayondo participated in the “Run for Nature” event, another campaign to save Bugoma Forest from destruction by Hoima Sugar Limited. Speaking for AUTO after the race, as if premonitating his fate, he said: “Just imagine if the crown were to perform without food in the villages. How would the government feed us? These are challenges that the government should consider before they can cede the forest. We have already lost enough forest cover. We cannot afford to lose any more. He called on the kingdom of Bunyoro, where the forest is located, to reconsider the decision to give up the forest for sugar.
Constantino Tessarin, president of the Association for the Conservation of the Bugoma Forest (ACBF), stopped from his break in Italy to say: “I have read the death of our friend, Mr. Everest Kayondo, former president. of AUTO and still a conservationist. We cannot forget his words during the last “Run For Nature” in October calling for the stop of the Hoima Sugar Company [from] destroy the Bugoma forest. Others did not even attend for the guilty shame of their silence.
“He was a person of integrity, honest and hardworking for everyone he represented. I know he had a dream for Uganda and its people. It’s sad that we lost his presence, deeply sad. I want to thank Mr. Kayondo for all the good he has done and wish him to move forward to the next destination in his life. He will be sadly missed by all of us. Kayondo was president of AUTO from 2018 to 2020 but decided not to run for another 2-year term in December 2020. ”