Passionate about farming, hospitality

Sunday March 07 2021

Retired Grade II Magistrate Mestel Mujungu Nyakana. Photo | Alex Ashaba.

By Alex Ashaba

Relaxing at Mestel’s Inn, on Kiboga Road in Fort Portal City, is the retired Grade II Magistrate Mestel Nyakana Mujungu as he chats with his workers.  When he sees us, he beckons us his way.

“You are welcome, take a seat,” before adding, “We will talk shortly.”
Mujung, u who was a Grade II Magistrate, voluntarily retired in 1992.

After his post graduate diploma from Law Development Centre in 1984, he started work as a Grade II Magistrate in Bundibugyo District up to 1990 and was transferred in the same capacity to Fort Portal Court in Kabarole District where he worked up to 1992.

Mujungu, after eight years of service,  requested the government to allow him retire before clocking 70, the mandatory retirement age for  magistrates.

 “My retirement is unique from others who retire at 70 years (magistrates). I retired from judicial services because the job was not paying well; the salary did not meet my daily life needs. I felt private business would pay better,” Mujungu says.
He opines that corruption was the only way to make better money,  something he did not buy into.

Mujungu, who comes from a cattle corridor area of greater Rwebisengo in Ntoroko District but now stays in Bweramule Sub-County in the same district, says as soon as he got a job with the government, he immediately started planning for retirement through saving.


“I saved part of my salary as one preparing for his early retirement because I had noticed that salary was not enough,” he says.
Mujungu reasoned that if someone had enough land, cattle keeping business  was an ideal investment since it pays off. 

Since 1992 to date he has been in the cattle keeping business in Ntoroko District alongside establishing Mestel’s Inn in Fort Portal in 1998.

“My plan was to do farming (cattle keeping) and hospitality. I planned for these two, the few years I was working,” he says,  adding that the day he decided to retire, he was well-prepared. 

However, in 1995, Mujungu contested as district councillor representing Greater Rwebisengo Sub-county in the district council of Bundibugyo. He was elected district speaker for five years. 
In 2001, he contested for Member of Parliament for Ntoroko County but he lost.

Nyakana says he joined politics at time because he wanted to serve his people but also it was because at the time all government institutions were respected and there was good governance.
“I did not join politics to make money and being a politician is not a full time job,” Nyakana says.

His current investment is better paying than his government job.
Mujungu believes retirement does not mean that someone must have money because it is a compulsory process for all employees. 
The downside to early retirement for him is, he missed all retirement packages, monthly pension and other benefits  for  civil servants who retire at the lawful age.

Mujungu says people who are still working need to know that when they retire they will be off the monthly payroll and if they have not saved and invested their money in long term projects life becomes hard.

“After retirement, life continues. If you do not have investments then you suffer, if you retire and join politics it is expensive, you might need to sell some of your investments,” Mujungu says.
He says employees ought to be humble and those who have started saving their money, start investing in fixed assets that can generate profits.

 “Whatever you get when you are still working, you need to be frugal to ensure that you manage what you have,” he says.
Mujungu cautions retired civil servants to desist from selling off their properties to join politics because when one fails to go through they  face many challenges.

“Because politics has been commercialised, it is too tempting for one to sell off their properties, especially retirees but there is life after politics,” he says.

Typical day
Mujungu wakes up around 7am, supervises his employees who graze his cattle on the farm in Bweramule Sub-county to ensure they are properly fed.

“Since I have another investment in Fort Portal City, it requires me to travel and check on my employees to know what is missing, if customers are happy with the services. And I do this daily,”  Mujungu says.

About investment
Mujungu says examples of good investments include real estate and farming.

“I have seen people invest  their money in things that bring in cash immediately it may be good for now but in the long run it is not good because such things do not last longer.  If you invest in buying cars or boda boda these bring money daily but after two years they become old but if you invest in land it does not depreciate. I advise people to invest in things that can sustain someone after their retirement” Mujungu says.

Mujungu says long term investments are sustainable unlike short term ones. Also, one should desist from having liquid cash all the time because it is tempting to spend.

Quick bio
Mestel Nyakana Mujungu went to  Kamuhingi Primary School in Bundibugyo District, now Ntoroko District, Ibanda Secondary School for O-Level and Kibuli Secondary School for A- Level. 

He attended Uganda College of Commerce, now Makerere University Business School, Nakawa where he studied Institute Chartered Secretarial and Administrator and after went to study a diploma in law at Law Development Centre at Makerere University and graduated in 1984.

Three years after retirement, he joined politics as district councillor for the greater Rwebisengo Sub-county in Bundibugyo District, now in Ntoroko District and served as district speaker for five years.