By Yasiri J Kasango
Paul Amoru Omiat’s leadership star is getting brighter each day. The Uganda Christian University (UCU) alum and former legislator in the Ugandan Parliament was recently named Uganda’s High Commissioner to Pretoria, South Africa.
Amoru, whose appointment was confirmed after a vetting by the Ugandan Parliament, took over Uganda’s High Commission from Barbara Nekesa Oundo. As Uganda’s envoy to South Africa, Amoru also will be in charge of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and the Royal Kingdom of Eswatini.
Amoru intends to use his new position to improve the trade balance between Uganda and countries in southern Africa. For instance, he said he will focus on expanding the market for Uganda’s agricultural produce. According to UN statistics, Uganda’s imports from South Africa in 2020 were worth $220 million while the country exported goods worth $11 million to South Africa.
Whereas Amoru is new to diplomatic service, it is not his first in leadership. The 39-year-old journalist-turned politician represented Dokolo North, a constituency in northern Uganda, in Uganda’s Parliament from 2016 to 2021. His re-election bid during Uganda’s general election in 2021 was not successful.
Amoru started his political career at Ngora High School in Kumi district, eastern Uganda, where he attended both O’level and A’level. His primary education often got interrupted because of the insurgency in northern Uganda, where Amoru’s home district, Dokolo, is located.
From 1986 to 2006, there was insecurity in northern and part of eastern Uganda, courtesy of the destructive effects of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels. As a result, Amoru attended Agwachibange Primary School, Dokolo Primary School and Lira Faith Primary School for the seven years that he was in primary school. As a student leader at Ngora High School, Amoru was in charge of library affairs. He was later voted the district chairperson representing Uganda National Students Association, an umbrella association of the country’s student leaders.
When he joined UCU in 2003 to pursue the Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication, Amoru did not get his foot off the pedal of leadership. In 2005, the second born of eight children of Samuel Kofie and Mary Agamah became UCU’s Guild President. Amoru’s relations with UCU continued even when he had left the institution. For instance, he was the president of the UCU Alumni Convocation. He handed over that office in 2021 to the current leader, Emmanuel Wabwire.
In 2007, Amoru joined Kumi University as the institution’s Public Relations Officer. A year later, he switched to the Daily Monitor, becoming the newspaper’s staff reporter. He eventually rose through the ranks, becoming a deputy editor at the newspaper by 2011.
In 2012, Amoru left the Daily Monitor, becoming the Public Relations Officer of a newly set up government agency, the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board.
When Amoru joined Uganda’s Parliament in 2016, the institution benefitted from his vast expertise in media and public relations. For instance, he became the chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Media. He also chaired the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Communications Technology and National Guidance (ICT & National Guidance).
In 2019, when Uganda hosted the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Kampala, Amoru was the chairperson of the parliamentary forum on media. He was charged with co-ordinating and approving all media before, during and shortly after the conference that was held in Kampala.
Now that he heads to Pretoria, he will take advantage of the vast leadership experience that he has garnered to strengthen Uganda’s diplomatic relations with the countries in southern Africa.