He attended Kings College Budo and is a graduate of Makerere University. In 1960, He graduated with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Economics from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States.
John Ssebaana Kizito is one of the few veteran politicians in Uganda, with his political career going as far back as pre-independence Uganda. He has therefore surprisingly served and survived as a civil servant and politician in several of Uganda’s eras of tyranny and political turmoil, including under Idi Amin, Milton Obote, and the current Museveni’s National Resistance Movement government.
In 1960, he served as a National Executive Officer. He served as a member of the East African Legislative Assembly, an arm of the East African Community from 1967 until 1977. From 1977 until 1980, he served as the chairman of National Insurance Corporation. In 1980, he was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Kampala South Constituency, winning 90% of the votes. He was the Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1981 until 1985 and was Acting Leader of the Opposition in 1983.
He served as Minister of Cooperatives and Marketing from 1985 until 1987, as Minister of Regional Cooperation from 1987 until 1988 and as Minister of Housing and Urban Development from 1989 until 1991.
He was a member of the Constituent Assembly that drew up the 1995 Ugandan Constitution, serving on the assembly as a member representing Makindye East Constituency. From 1994 to 1995, he served as chairman of the National Caucus of Democracy.
Between 1998 and 2006, he was twice elected as Mayor of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, replacing Nasser Sebaggala in 1999 and being replaced by Nasser Sebaggala in 2006. John Ssebaana Kizito was the Democratic Party’s candidate in the 23 February 2006 presidential election.
In 1982, John Ssebaana Kizito, together with a business associate, Joseph William Kiwanuka, established Uganda’s first private (non-government) insurance company, Statewide Insurance Company (SWICO), for which Ssebaana served as Chairman of the Board and Kiwanuka serves as the Managing Director.
Ssebaana died on 3 July 2017 at Nakasero Hospital, in Kampala, where he was admitted two weeks prior, following a stroke.