After a local education, he went to Makerere University in 1952, taking his BA in 1955, before joining the Standard Vacuum Oil Company as an executive trainee, staying with the company until 1962.
Meanwhile he plunged himself into local council affairs as a member in the Kampala council from 1957 to 1959 and in the Jinja council from 1959 to 1962. In March 1961 he stood for Jinja, his home town, as a Uganda Peoples Congress candidate and was returned. The elections were won by the Democratic Party and he became Opposition spokesman for health and water resources. In the April 1962 elections he won again and this time the UPC, under Milton Obote, formed a government. He was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Finance and later Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs.
In 1964 he was made Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and worked increasingly closely with Milton Obote until he took over from him as full Foreign Affairs Minister in April 1966, doubling up as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister from February to May 1966.
In Foreign Affairs he was the faithful executor of Milton Obote’s policies, taking a radical stand alongside Tanzania and Zambia on Pan-African questions, offering succour to thousands of Congolese and Southern Sudanese refugees and striving to bring the Nigeria-Biafra conflict to a negotiated end.
He was with Milton Obote at the Commonwealth Conference in Singapore in January 1971, when the army seized power. He has stayed with him since in exile in Tanzania. He did not take part in the invasion of Uganda by the exiles in Tanzania in September 1972.
Intelligent, lively and a good mixer, he brought much needed support to the Uganda Peoples’ Congress from his eastern power base. Promoted rapidly to successively important ministries, he stayed with Milton Obote from the time he first came to power until the final coup and was increasingly regarded as his most faithful disciple, who now shares his Tanzanian exile with him.