Zari and her children at Semwanga's home on Sunday night for a vigil. Photo by Meddie Musisi
Members of the Kwagalana Group have paid tribute to fallen businessman and socialite, Ivan Ssemwanga, saying he employed many Ugandan youth in his business projects and connected others to find work in South Africa.
"He was a magnanimous person. He connected many youth to find jobs in South Africa and employed many others on his various projects especially his schools," said Godfrey Kirumira, the group's chairperson.
He explained that several Kampala business people always sought his intervention wherever they went to South Africa and said Uganda would miss Ssemwanga for his role and generosity.
Kirumira said that in July last year Ssemwanga, on his own initiative, accorded VIP treatment to a delegation of Kwagalana members who attended the wedding of their member, Hajji Yusuf Matovu alias Youma's son, Yassah Matovu, who wedded Charles Mbire's daughter, Nadia Kabahita in Sandton, Pretoria.
He said Ssemwanga took leave of his official duties and transported, fed and took members to expensive expeditions in South Africa and took care of them from the day they arrived until they left.
"Our only expenses were on hotel accommodation, the rest was footed by Ssemwanga," Kirumira said.
He said that the group was playing a central role in his burial arrangements in recognition of what he contributed to Ugandans.
One of the Kwagalana members, Ssalongo Lutalo Bbosa, a Kikuubo-based businessman represented the group in South Africa and participated in arrangements to repatriate the body back home.
Kirumira also applauded Ssemwanga for his contribution to education in South Africa, where he said had a chain of over 13 schools and looked forward to enrolling Ugandans.
"Last year Ssemwanga asked me to send my children to enrol in his schools, which shows that although the investments were in South Africa, he looked forward to enabling Ugandans benefit from them," he explained.
Ntaganda told New Vision that the group would miss Ssemwanga describing him as kind and loving person who welcomed and treated those who approached him well.
"He has been so supportive to almost everyone, and my fond memories of him come from how he treated us when we visited South Africa for a wedding last year, he cared so much," he said.