The grandson of Sir Apolo Kagwa, one of the most famous of the premiers of the Kabaka (King of Buganda). Educated at King's College, Budo; Makerere College, Kampala, and at Adams College, Natal and the University College of South Africa, at Fort Hare.
He returned to Uganda and in 1943 took up teaching at his old school, King's College, Budo, until 1950, when he left to do legal studies in London, being called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1952.
He then returned to Uganda and went into private practice between 1952 and 1955. In 1955, already a prominent member of the Uganda National Conference, he was appointed Assistant Minister of Social Services in the colonial Legislative Council and in 1958 he was upgraded to full Minister of Works and Transport.
After the coup on January 25, 1971, he was promoted from the Foreign Office to become Minister of Planning and Development. On taking over, he reported that his ministry had "nothing in the kitty”. Uganda’s budget had been £2m in deficit in 1970. The deficits continued in 1971 and 1972 and Kironde found that systematic planning of an economy was almost impossible, owing to ministerial overspending, particularly on defence.
Demoted from the tourism ministry, he was mysteriously “retired” on December 1, 1972, along with two other ministers.
In the political ferment that led to Uganda's independence, small parties were constantly forming, dividing and re-forming. Apollo Kironde resigned his ministry and founded the United National Party in June 1960. It was a group of Baganda intellectuals with little following outside Buganda and made little impression on the established Uganda National Congress and Democratic Party. By 1961 it had merged with the Uganda National Congress.
Most of the Baganda were encouraged to boycott the March 1961 Sections at the request of the Kabaka and his parliament, so Kironde did not think it worth standing. He played very little part in domestic politics thereafter.
A teacher, lawyer and diplomat who trained many of Uganda’s younger personalities at King’s College, Budo. His career has been distinguished as a diplomat and civil servant and earlier as a minister under the colonial government. He met with less success as a politician in the early days of Uganda nationalism. His attempts to achieve rational economic planning were continually frustrated when he was economics minister.