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Mulwana refused mourners to view his body, burial today

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th January 2013 12:42 PM

One of Uganda''s leading entrepreneurs James Mulwana who died Tuesday morning left strict instructions asking for a low profile burial. He also refused mourners to view his body.

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One of Uganda''s leading entrepreneurs James Mulwana who died Tuesday morning left strict instructions asking for a low profile burial. He also refused mourners to view his body.

Francis Kagolo and Carol Kasujja                     

One of Uganda's leading entrepreneurs James Mulwana who died Tuesday morning left strict instructions asking for a low profile burial. He also refused mourners to view his body.

He is to be buried later in the day (Wednesday) at his country home in Masiriba, 40 miles on the Kampala-Hoima Road, to avoid conflicts.

The legendary manufacturer passed on at 4:15am at Nakasero hospital where he had been rushed at about 3:00am after complaining of abdominal pain.

As the news of his demise trickled through, hundreds of mourners including Buganda kingdom officials, leading Kampala businessmen, politicians and clerics gathered at his home in Kansanga to console the bereaved family.

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       Late Mulwana (Middle) talks to Kabaka Ronald Mutebi II

Prior to his death, Mulwana, 76, had visited his Jesa dairy farm in Busunju, and interacted with village-mates where he had gone for prayers at a church in Mityana.

While there, mourners said, he complained of abdominal pain and decided to cut short his journey, only for the situation to worsen the following day.

At the time of his death, Mulwana was the chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Uganda Limited besides being the managing director of his companies: Nice House of Plastics, Jesa Dairy, and Uganda Batteries Limited among others.

He was also the Honorary Consul of Thailand in Uganda and at the same the chairman of the Uganda Manufacturers' Association (UMA).

Survived by a widow, two daughters and a son, Mulwana had suffered with abdominal aches for quite some time and visited numerous hospitals within and outside the country on several occasions.

On Tuesday, photojournalists were denied access to Mulwana's home as relatives and business associates engaged in a somewhat heated argument over the burial arrangements. The family insisted that Mulwana's will must be followed to the letter.

Majority wanted him buried on Saturday and the funeral vigil held at his Kansanga home in accordance with established Ganda culture.

Moses Kyoloobi, the guardian of the Mamba (lung fish) clan leader where Mulwana was a member, had advised that the body should be taken to Kansanga overnight for the vigil, as per the Ganda culture.

However, it came out that the deceased had left a strict will, which also involved an expeditious burial ceremony.

 "Everything that would cause controversy is documented. Despite being an Anglican, James always admired the Muslim burial tradition and if it was possible, we would have buried him today (yesterday)," said Sarah Mulwana, the widow.

According to the will, sources said, Mulwana is to be buried at his ancestral grounds in Masiriba, off Hoima Road in Kiboga district, a few kilometers from his Jesa Farm in Busunju.

Mulwana, according to sources, also barred the family from taking his body to his Kansanga home or any church, but instead hold the vigil and prayers in Masiriba. Mulwana also refused mourners to view his body.

Although Mulwana didn't want a vigil at his home, nonetheless scores streamed to his Kansanga home all day yesterday and eulogised him as an honest, humble, loving and a religious man who loved and worked for the development of both his kingdom (Buganda) and the country.

"He was a very loving son. When I turned 91 years, he organised a first class party for me at UMA Conference Hall," said Gladys Nsubuga Stokes, Mulwana's maternal aunt. "Everything at the party, from the glasses to guests and wines, was first class."          

His eldest daughter, Primrose Mulwana, said "We have lost a multimillion dollar character. I have lost a dad, a friend, a mentor. My dad was very generous, kind and selfless."

JAMES MULWANA PROFILE

He was only 25 when he ventured into the import and export business.  Given his age, some must have thought that he was destined for failure, but James Mulwana has lived to prove them wrong. It is now 50 years since he made baby steps into the business world, and during this time, he has driven Uganda's private sector and manufacturing industry from strength to strength.

Today, when you mention Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Mulwana's name comes up. As the foundation's chairman from 1996 to 2008, he oversaw its growth as an entity that represents the interests of the private sector to the Government and the community.

As a leading manufacturer in the country, one of Mulwana's biggest achievements was spearheading the revival of the Uganda Manufacturers' Association (UMA) in 1988. Then, his dream was to bring Uganda's business community together, provide a forum that addresses their issues and grow the private sector in general.

Mulwana has lived to see this dream come true as, today, the Government of Uganda and international donors consult with UMA when discussing issues of economic policy.

He was only 25 when he ventured into   the    import   and    export business.  Given his age, some must have thought that he was destined for failure, but James Mulwana has lived to prove them wrong.

It is now 50 years since he made baby steps into the business world, and during this time, he has driven Uganda's private sector and manufacturing industry from strength to strength.

Today, when you mention Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Mulwana's name comes up. As the foundation's chairman from 1996 to 2008, he oversaw its growth as an entity that represents the interests of the private sector to the Government and the community.

As a leading manufacturer in the country, one of Mulwana's biggest achievements was spearheading the revival of the Uganda Manufacturers 'Association (UMA) in 1988. Then, his dream was to bring Uganda's business community together, provide a forum that addresses their issues and grow the private sector in general.

Mulwana has lived to see this dream come true as, today, the Government of Uganda and international donors consult with UMA when discussing issues of economic policy.

Right on the heels of Mulwana's export and import businesses was Uganda Batteries Limited (then Associated Battery Manufacturers' Limited), which he started in 1967 in partnership with Chloride (UK) Limited. He gained full ownership of the company in 1990.

Ship toothbrush factory (now Nice House of Plastics Limited), followed in 1970 and has since grown into a leading manufacturer of household and packaging products, as well as agricultural equipment and writing products.

By 1988, Mulwana had established himself as a major manufacturer in the country, thus his decision to oversee UMA's revival. That same year also saw the birth of Jesa Mixed Farm, which he started with a herd of 550 Friesian cows.

Today, that farm has a processing, pasteurising and packaging plant that produces milk, yoghurt, butter and cream. The farm has a commercial property development arm, Jesa Investments Limited, which Mulwana set up in 2002 to venture into the booming property development industry.

In 1992, Mulwana ventured into the horticultural industry when he started Nsimbe Estates Limited.

Mulwana is a household name though, very little is known about his personal life because he prefers to maintain a low profile and rarely gives interviews, despite the public's interest in his achievements.

One thing that is certain, though, is that Mulwana is the engine that has driven Uganda's private sector, a fact that explains his appointment as chairman and board member of various organisations in the country. These include Standard Chartered Bank, BATU Uganda, East African Development Bank, East African Business Council, Eskom Uganda and the Insurance Company of East Africa.

Mulwana has also served as a member of the International Finance Corporation Business Advisory Council, which deals with directly financing private sector projects in developing countries. In addition, Mulwana has been the honorary consul of Thailand to Uganda since 1993.

However, Mulwana is not all business. His compassion has seen him serve as the vice chairman of SOS Children's Village, a charity organisation that takes care of homeless children and orphans. He also serves as Hospice Uganda's patron, and is a trustee of Mengo Hospital, a board member of Interplast Uganda and St. John Ambulance.

Without a doubt, Uganda's economic development has thrived on James Mulwana's business acumen, innovation, ingenuity and focus.

A pictorial of the late James Mulwana

Mzee Mulwana leaves a legacy of exemplary leadership

Mulwana refused mourners to view his body

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