By Faustine Odeke
One of the first Africans to set up a retail business in Tororo town in the early 1950’s has passed on.
Hussein Shiire, 85, a Ugandan of Somali origin died on Saturday in a Johannesburg hospital after undergoing knee surgery. According to relatives, he had also been battling a number of ailments linked to his kidneys.
A sombre mood has hang over Tororo district since news about Hussein’s death trickled in from South Africa where he had been admitted for close to two months.
“Mzee has been sick. He died on Saturday and my mother Mariam Hussein and brothers are in South Africa preparing to fly the body to Tororo for burial. We are expecting the body on Tuesday evening and burial will hopefully be done on Wednesday morning.
“This programme will stand only if the body arrives here tomorrow evening,” said the deceased’s first son Abdullahi Hussein Shiire.
Abdullahi said his father would be buried at the Muslim cemetery at Mile One along Jinja Road in Tororo town. This was Shiire’s wish.
Shiire is survived by a widow and nine children-five girls and four boys.
Shiire owned a fleet buses operating under the Gateway name. He also had a host of other businesses that included Shire Petroleum, buildings, Hussein stores, a shop located along Tagore Road in Tororo town and about 2000 acres of sugar cane plantation that supplies Kakira Sugar Works and Mayuge Sugar Works.
Abdullahi said Shiire was among the few tycoons who started businesses in Tororo town in the 1950s before establishing the GateWay bus company in the early 1980s.
He spent the rest of his life living in Tororo running his Hussein Store shop along Tagore Road in Tororo town.
A night vigil has been going on at his home along Malaba Road in Tororo town since Sunday as relatives, friends and well-wishers prepare to receive the body.
Relatives and friends have described Shiire as a simple, disciplined and hardworking man who ensured everybody including the needy improved on their livelihoods.
According to his staff at Hussein Stores, Shiire took them like his sons, paid them well and ensured whoever worked for him either in Gateway Bus Company, fuel station or at the shop flourished by sending their children to good schools besides constructing houses for them.
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Gateway proprietor Hussein Shiire dies in South Africa