Renowned businessman and entrepreneur James Mulwana is dead. The celebrated industrialist and chairperson of several high profile corporations is reported to have succumbed to complications related to a long-standing stomach condition yesterday morning.
Private Sector Foundation board chairperson Gerald Ssendaula; the head of Uganda Manufacturers Association, Kaddu Kiberu and fellow accomplished businessman Gordon Wavamuno, and other close friends of the deceased, said he died at Nakasero Hospital at about 4am.
By press time, Mulwana’s remains had been transferred to Case Medical Centre for embalming and preservation.
The hospital’s general manager, Mr Issa Bulafu, said the family had turned down a request for a post-mortem, one of several unusual requests that have been made in respect to burial arrangements.
Mr Wavamunno said the 77-year-old entrepreneur went to Nakasero Hospital for a check-up hours after complaining of stomach discomfort, only to be admitted.
“I was with him over the weekend. And he was doing fine. I called him again on Monday and his wife said he was at the hospital. The next communication I was told he is dead,” Mr Wavamunno said.
Mulwana’s remains will be laid to rest today in keeping with his request to be buried without undue delay, according to Mr Kiberu and Dr Kimala Nsubuga, the leader of Buganda’s Mamba clan to which the deceased was a member.
Unlike the fuss which tends to follow the passing of individuals of such high standing in society, Mulwana was reported to have indicated that when he dies, a requiem mass be conducted at the modest Masiriba Village Church.
Mulwana is reputed to have built the church located about 11 kilometres from his Jesa Farm in Busunjju, Wakiso District, where he used to pray.
The deceased will be remembered for building his business empire from the scratch, for his dedication, sheer hard work, humility and honesty.
Condolence messages continued to stream into media houses yesterday.
The government expressed shock and sorrow upon learning of the death of Mulwana, who was also the Honorary Consul for the Royal Kingdom of Thailand.
“Mulwana will be remembered as a genuine industrialist and philanthropist who contributed to the development of Uganda and Africa as a whole,” a statement signed by Information minister Mary Karooro Okurut, said.
“Mulwana was not only a true patriot but also a friend of the NRM government and all peace loving Ugandans. He will be remembered for his extreme modesty and discipline, an attribute that endeared him to the young and the old,” Ms Okurut said.
In another message, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ddumba Ssentamu, said in December 2006, Mulwana was awarded an Honorary Professorship at the institution for his service to community and efforts to promote business.
“His entrepreneurial giftedness helped Makerere in her bid to link up with the private sector and strengthen the university’s ability to respond to the changing economic demands,” the Makerere statement said.
Another message from power distributor, Umeme, where he was one of the top board members, said it was always a privilege to work with the deceased.
“His counsel and wealth of experience and knowledge was something we always tapped. It is going to be difficult to imagine business in Uganda without the icon that was at the heart of the industrialisation of Uganda,” said the statement signed by Umeme chairperson Patrick Bitature.