He attended Kigezi College Butobere for his O-Level studies, before he was admitted to Royal College Nairobi for his A-Level education.
He is the current chancellor of Makerere University, the oldest and largest university in Uganda. He was appointed to that position in 2007 by President Yoweri Museveni. After serving a full four year-term, he was re-appointed for another term in 2011, and was re-installed in January 2012.
He studied at the University of Nairobi, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine in the early 1960s.
Later, he went on to obtain a Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine, from the University of California Davis, followed by a Doctor of Philosophy from the same institution. In 1971, following graduation from the University of California with his Master of Science degree, Kagonyera joined Makerere University as a lecturer.
He was instrumental in establishing the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, which has since morphed into the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources & BioSecurity. He also served as the chairman of the university appointments board from 1993 until 1999.
He left the university to join Ugandan politics in 1998.
He also served as the deputy managing director of the Ugandan National Social Security Fund from 2006 until 2008.
As a politician, he served as the member of Parliament for Rubabo constituency in Rukungiri District and as a minister for general duties in the office of the prime minister.