Father of 100 dies at 96

Deceased: Hajj Nulu Ssemakula. PHOTOS/ PEREZ RUMANZI

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  • The former minister of state foo labor, Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana took to several WhatsApp platforms to eulogise Ssemakula who was also his neighbor.

Less than half of the 115 children of Hajj Nulu Ssemakula alias Nuuhu, a 96-year-old confessed polygamist attended his burial ceremony at his home in Omurusa village, Nyanga parish, Rubaare Sub County in Ntungamo District.

Ssemakula died Thursday morning at Amazing Grace Health Centre in Ntunagmo town after his blood pressure went up. At least 64 of his children attended the ceremony as many of their siblings who were away from home failed to travel over Covid-19 movement restrictions announced by President Museveni last month.

At least 200 of his grandchildren, six wives, several relatives and religious leaders attended the ceremony despite government measures that had restricted the number of mourners to less than 20.

“Because of Sharia we had to bury him on Thursday morning. Most of the relatives and his children complained that they had been denied chance to bury their father,” Ssemakula’s young brother, Mr Daudi Suubi told this reporter.

Some of Ssemakula’s children work in law enforcement; police, army and public service, among others.

Mr Issa Turyeija, the director of Ruteda Herbal Laboratories said he spent part of Wednesday with Ssemakula in Rubaare town before he was taken for medical checkup in the evening.

“We spent much of Wednesday with Hajji, we laughed and made jokes. He said he was eyeing another young woman he intended to marry. He was so worried of COVID-19. The medics say it was his blood pressure that kept fluctuating. When he felt weak in the evening I think he feared it may have been Covid and he could not come back. Unfortunately we buried him in this condition and most of his people never attended his burial,” Mr Tureija said.

The former minister of state foo labor, Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana took to several WhatsApp platforms to eulogise Ssemakula who was also his neighbor.

“Nuuhu was a hero and icon of development and transformation of our then poor, uncivilized and backward Ruyonza village. He pioneered the cultivation of coffee and commercial banana farming. He excelled in in cattle keeping until his entire herd was looted by the TZ liberation forces in 1979. I am happy I assisted him and group to get some compensation from the NRM government when I was DAG (Deputy Attorney General),” Mr Rukutana wrote on Ntungamo development platform.

Ssemakula (centre) with four of his wives and children at their home in 2019.  PHOTO BY PEREZ RUMANZI

Ssemakula was the first Muslim from Rushenyi County to travel to Mecca in 1977. He once owned a fleet of public transport vehicles that plied Kabale-Mbarara route.

In the 2019 interview with Daily Monitor, Ssemakula said he had married 19 wives, four of whom had since passed on. He lived with seven wives in one house, including his first wife whom he married in 1952. His youngest wife was only 24-years-old and had a 3-year-old child. She was also expecting. He, however, married another wife in 2020 who had given birth at the time of his death.

Ssemakula could, at his old age, still go to the garden and dig, drive a car, read the Quran, count money and run businesses and have time for his family. His grandfather the late Kashwijuma was one of the first Baganda colonial forerunners who were sent to Ankole and Mpororo to spread the gospel of modernization in the early 1920s but settled there.

His large is spread out in two counties of Kajara and Rushenyi.

Mr Justus Karuhanga noted that Ssemakula inspired many locals to transform their lives despite his low level of education.

Mr Rashid Kigwe, one of his sons said his father was exceptionally brilliant that even at his age he could seat his family, counsel them and unite many in his village and Rushenyi County.

Sheikh Swaleh Kashangirwe, the Ntungamo District Kadhi led prayers for Ssemakula’s send off. He said the Muslim community has lost a pillar who inspired many.

He is survived by 115 children, over 300 grandchildren and several great grandchildren.


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