Dodovico Mwanje, a “mechanic”, who contributed Shs15m during a fundraising service, razed a 45-year-old Anglican Church on Sunday night.
The Christians at St Peter’s Church at Ndeeba in Kampala know Mwanje as Dodo, a wealthy man who rose from grass to grace.
He was a humble church member in the 1990s and lived as a self-effacing mechanic before relocating to Kololo, an upscale suburb in Kampala. Ndeeba residents describe Mwanje as a soft spoken person of about 60 years.
He is said to have arrived from Kiboga District and settled in Ndeeba, Rubaga Division, where he operated a garage in the 1990s.
His turning point came when he struck a deal with Uganda People’s Defence Forces to repair their vehicles.
At that time, his garage was located near the Old St Peter’s Church and as one of the believers, he would freely interact with other church members.
Mr David Kavuma, an elder at St Peter’s Church, says he has known Mwanje for almost three decades.
“He has grown up from here (Ndeeba). Many of us know him as a mechanic. He used to repair military vehicles. He also had a shop near Masaku building in Mutaawe Zone. I think he ended the garage works in 2004,” Mr Kavuma said.
He recalls how Mwanje accrued lots of money through networking from his garage and he would later abandon his mechanic business to turn into a real estate kingpin.
“Within Ndeeba, there is no other person equated to him in the number of buildings or wealth he has. He was our church member and he contributed Shs15m in 2005 during fundraising,” Mr Kavuma said.
Mr Dan Katende recounted how Dodo in 2007 asked the church to lease him an acre of church land but he did not succeed because the land had other church projects, including a washing bay, two garages, plants and kiosks.
“He offered that he would pay the church Shs300m per year but the administration refused. At the time the church was led by lay reader Godfrey Ssebina (now reverend),” he said.
Mr Katende and other church members suspect the church refusal could have infuriated Dodo.
They accuse him of plotting to take over the church land and working with the children of Evelyn Nacwa, the registered proprietor of the disputed land, to evict the church. However, the church members did not show evidence to confirm the claims.