BY OWEN WAGABAZA
He could have been born in a humble setting, but beneath this background, lay a ‘gold mine’ which inspired him to take a shot at the best in life. Francis Kaleebi is one unique teacher. He is a graduate secondary school teacher, but earns millions every month and says he cannot ask for more.
He is a man who started by selling eggs to Namasagali College, but later switched to selling maize and potatoes to the same school. It is his resilience that has helped him attain success. Today, he co owns a school with a friend with a population of 1,200 students.
He was also recently elected to the LC3 office. But, that is not all. He has a piggery with over 500 pigs, a 10-acre banana plantation, five acres of a rice farm and 50 acres of eucalyptus trees. Despite all this wealth, Kaleebi still teaches literature and English language at his own school.
Kaleebi was born in December 1961 to Jacob Baloodhe, in Kiwungu village in the eastern Uganda district of Kamuli.
His father was a guard in a railway company.
His home used to move from one town to another, which explains the countless schools Kaleebi attended. Kaleebi sat his Senior Four at Jinja SS and his A’level at St. Peter’s College, Tororo. He later joined Kakoba National Teachers College in Mbarara district in 1984, for a diploma in education.
He graduated in 1986. Upon completion, Kaleebi joined Namasagali College as a teacher, teaching English and literature. He later enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in education and graduated in 2003.
BUILDING HIS EMPIRE
Having grown up in a humble home, Kaleebi strived to live a good life. As a young boy, he ventured into several
businesses to earn an extra buck. “I feared living in poverty so much that I ventured into many small businesses
during high school days.
Unfortunately, they always collapsed after a short time because I lacked capital,” he recalls. While at Namasagali College as a teacher, he tried out poultry, which proved successful.
Kaleebi then used to sell eggs to teachers and at the school canteen for the students. “Namasagali College was a big school with students from rich families. I was supplying eggs to the school canteen. The enterprise was successful since the consumption from students was good,” he adds.
Later, he expanded his farming enterprise. “Still my biggest market was Namasagali College. Being a member of staff made it easy for me to get tenders as a school supplier.
I used to supply sweet potatoes, beans and maize, which I would mill into posho,” says Kaleebi. Peter Kalangwa, who worked with Kaleebi at Namasagali College, says: “He has an eye for money. Namasagali was a big school, but Kaleebi was the first person to come up with the idea of rearing poultry.”
Kaleebi with his wife Rose, also a teacher
KYABAZINGA COLLEGE IS BORN
In 1996, Kaleebi partnered with his longtime friend, Robert Mudhasi, who was by then a teacher at Namasagali College to start a school at Budhumbula on the outskirts of Kamuli town. Kaleebi says, having been a classroom teacher for almost a decade, he started a school to fill a gap in the education sector. “I wanted to provide affordable quality education to the community.
There were few schools and students were trekking long distances to get an education. I felt it was right to play a part in eradicating the problem,” he says. Having started with only two classrooms, Senior One and Two; with 41 students, Kaleebi says the school today boasts of some of the biggest infrastructure in Kamuli and over 1,200 students.
He says this has been due to the hard work and the commitment to develop the school. “I reinvest the profits into the school. This has allowed us to develop our infrastructure in a short time. We now have the biggest and most well-equipped science laboratory in the district Kaleebi boasts.
Kaleebi does not stop in the classroom, but is also a farmer and politician. He also once served on the District Service Commission and has won several tenders to repair roads. Kaleebi advises fellow teachers to set up other income-generating businesses to supplement their salary. “You cannot become rich by depending on a salary. The most corrupt people earn the biggest salaries. But because the salary is never enough, they end up swindling government resources,” he says.
In the 2011 elections, Kaleebi stood for the LC3 chairmanship in Butansi sub-county and won with a landslide. He says he joined politics because of the passion to serve his people. “People asked me to be their leader and I obliged.
We are paid only sh270,000 and I would not be serving in this position if it was for money. But I am privileged to have been entrusted by my people to lead them and we develop our area,” he adds. Alex Midda, a resident of Butansi sub-county, describes him as a developmental minded person.
“When he came into office he repainted the sub-county headquarters using his own money, 20 years from the time the premises had received the last oil coating,” he says.