Sam Frobisher Owori, who has been the president-elect of Rotary International has died unexpectedly in Dallas Texas, United States, as a result of a post-surgery complication on his leg. He was aged 75.
Rotary International President Ian Riseley confirmed the sad news in a statement published on the organisation’s website. Owori, a former banker with outstanding achievements, was due to be installed as the 108th President of Rotary International in Ontario Canada in October this year to serve for one year beginning July 1, 2018.
Friends say that following the operation, his blood pressure dropped suddenly and never recovered.
His unanimous election as President-elect of the international humanitarian organisation, was hailed by many here as the greatest individual achievement by any Rotarian in Uganda and a source pride for the country. He was also only the second African in the 111 year history of the organisation to be chosen for the prestigious position.
Rotary International President Ian Riseley said: “Please remember Sam as the outstanding, hard-working Rotarian he was,” adding that: “In this difficult time, I ask you to keep his wife, Norah, the Owori family and Sam’s millions of friends around the world in your thoughts.”
When he was nominated last year, Owori is quoted to have said: “Rotary has become a way of life for me – with the intrinsic value and core belief in mutual responsibility and concern for one another as a cornerstone. I feel immense satisfaction knowing that through Rotary, I’ve helped someone live better.”
Under Owori’s leadership, the number of clubs in Uganda swelled from nine to 89 over the course of 29 years.
Owori saw in Rotary members “an incredible passion to make a difference,” and wanted to “harness that enthusiasm and pride so that every project becomes the engine of peace and prosperity.”
Before being chosen for the international position, Owori had served in a number of senior leadership positions both with Rotary International as well as in various other Ugandan organisations.
He was the chief executive officer of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda (ICGU), whose mission is to promote excellence in corporate governance principles and practice in the region by 2020. Previously, he was executive director of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and managing director of Uganda Commercial Bank Ltd. (UCB) and director of Uganda Development Bank. He has also served as corporation secretary of the Central Bank of Uganda (BOU).
He had served as member and chairman of several boards including FAULU (U) Ltd (now Opportunity Bank), The Uganda Heart Institute, the Centre for African Family Studies (CAFS), Mulago Hospital Complex, Mukono Theological College, and the Kampala City Council.
Owori was the currently vice chair of the Hospice Africa Uganda, and member of the board and chair of the Audit Committee of PACE (Programme for Accessible Health, Communication and Education) in Uganda.
“Sam was a special person in so many ways, and his unexpected death is a huge loss to Rotary, his community and the world,” Riseley said. “In addition, we are establishing details on plans to celebrate his life as they become available.”
Riseley said Rotary would establish a memorial fund in Owori’s honour and would provide further details soon.