The late James Mulwana stood out not only as one of our country's top industrialists but also as a unique and exceptional Ugandan.
He was an extremely hardworking, innovative, creative, honest, adaptive planner and decision maker in life and death.
You rarely see Ugandans finding a common frame of reference on different personalities but in Mulwana, we all agreed to agree. His remarkable legacy teaches us numerous lessons and I most importantly picked 10.
1- Mulwana demystified the myth that an African rich man should have many wives and a big family. He had only one wife, Sarah Mulwana, one son and heir Geoffrey Mulwana, and two daughters Sarah Mulwana and Primrose Mulwana. There is no doubt that the family remains so strong and united. His family has assured the nation that they will carry forward the fallen industrialist's investments and uphold the high quality of products he was known for.
2- In life, like in death, Mulwana stood out for his extreme humility and accompanying modesty inspite of his fortune and great personal success.
3- He was very generous but loathed extravagancy and time wasting. In death, he wished to have the simplest of funeral services and for his body to be buried immediately after his death. Although, Anglican, he cherished the Muslim burial custom. In a way the manner of his burial, devoid of pomp tested our burial customs.
4- He built a chain of successful businesses including Nice House of Plastics, Uganda Batteries Limited, Nsimbe Estates Limited, Jesa Dairy Farm, as well as Jesa Investments Limited a commercial property development entity. This is an encouragement to indigenous entrepreneurs to take part in business. I do not know of any Ugandan successful businessman who has not benefited in a way or another from Mulwana wealth of experience and knowledge.
5- Mulwana detested policies and institutional frameworks that stifled local entrepreneurs at the expense of foreign ones. He had the spirit of encouraging and supporting indigenous Ugandans into business.
6- Mulwana educated himself. He was very articulate that he caught the eye of various universities bestowing upon him honorary titles of Dr and Professor.
7- He was a peacemaker, an arbitrator and hated double standards. Mulwana was the behind the scenes person whenever the tension between Buganda and the central government arose. Surprisingly, he was never a hypocrite and remained a strong confidant of both the Kabaka and President Museveni.
8- He was a diplomat and chairperson of several high profile corporations.
9- Mulwana was scandal free. He was a genuine businessman. Mulwana traded simplicity and not luxury, selflessness values and not self interest and genuineness instead of artificiality.
10- He was a true believer in God, and never discriminated against anyone on the ground of religion, tribe, political opinion, social or economic standing.
Indeed, Mulwana is a big loss to his family, business fraternity, Buganda Kingdom, Uganda and Africa at large. Before we declare him a hero, or set up a Mulwana Local Entrepreneurship Fund (MLEF), I request the Government to do the following in memory of the great son.
We should tarmac all the roads leading to his agricultural farms particularly Jesa Milk Farm in Busunju. We should also tarmac the dusty road that branches off from Hoima road, Kikuuma town center to his ancestral Masiriba home in Kiboga district.
The writer is a bereaved Ugandan.