African tradition has the common notion that boys have a birthright to inherit their fathers’ property. This form of discrimination against girls is being demystified as some – but few – girls are proving they can comfortably step in daddies’ footsteps.
As the world this week commemorates the International Women’s day, JEFF MBANGA looks at some of the women who are keeping their fathers’ legacies alive by running their businesses.
Angella Katatumba is commonly known for her music career and charity work. But when her father Boney Katumba died in February 2017, Angella Katatumba had to step in daddy’s shoes.
Boney Katatumba was one of the early flamboyant businessmen, who, during the eighties, bought a small fleet of aeroplanes for his tour and travel company. His business empire had hotels, a school and different properties, among others. He was also the honorary consul of Pakistan.
Although he had two wives and a number of sons, it is Angella Katatumba who has been thrown at the helm of some of his businesses. She now coordinates some of his businesses and is also the acting honorary consul of Pakistan in Uganda.
As one of the most prominent local entrepreneurs of his time, James Mulwana was arguably unrivalled.
That is on the premise that Mulwana, with limited education, rose from being a nightclub bouncer to a newspaper vendor right up to founding a company that became one of the biggest producers of milk products, Jesa Mixed Farm.
He then went on to head the board of directors of key blue chip companies such as Standard Chartered Bank Uganda and British American Tobacco Uganda, among others.
Upon his death in January 2013, the question of whether Mulwana’s business empire would survive became somewhat common.
Mulwana had the business acumen of putting his daughter, Barbara Mulwana, at the top of one of his companies.
According to a company profile, Barbara has been executive director of Nice House of Plastics since 1991. It was a wise choice by the late Mulwana. Five years after his death, Mulwana’s legacy lives on, partly through the work of his daughter, Barbara.
Barbara Mulwana was in May last year elected the first female chairperson of the Uganda Manufacturers Association, a body her late father co-founded and was chairman.
A qualified electrical engineer, Barbara is also the acting honorary consul of Thailand in Uganda, which his father was at the time of his death.
THEMI NAKIBUUKA SEBALU
If you mentioned the five top law firms in Uganda today, chances are that Sebalu & Lule Advocates would be on the list.
Paulo Sebalu was one of the founders of the law firm. Together with his friend Godfrey Lule, the two managed to grow their clientele to include huge corporations such as NSSF, Bank of Uganda, just to mention a few.
By the time he died in late 2013, Sebalu, it is said, had only one daughter Themi Nakibuuka Sebalu. His wealth included Muyenga Country Club and a number of properties.
However, Muyenga Club has been at the centre of a dispute, where legislator and owner of Super FM radio, Peter Sematimba, a nephew to Sebalu, claims ownership. To resolve this dispute, Themi Nakibuuka sued Peter Sematimba. Both the trial court and the court of appeal ruled in Sematimba’s favour.
However, undeterred, Nakibuuka appealed the court’s decisions in the Supreme court, which stripped Sematimba of powers to manage the late Sebalu’s estate.
As the only child, Nakibuuka has been left with the mantle of protecting the assets of one of the most prominent lawyers in Uganda.
When a number of prominent artistes did covers of some of Philly Bongole Lutaaya’s hit songs, the temptation to replicate other legend’s music was high.
Uganda has had few musicians whose works live long after they have died. Elly Wamala was one of those musicians.
To stop other artistes from making money off Elly Wamala’s sweat and creativity, the family, with one of his daughters, Gertrude Wamala, a partner at Sebalu & Lule Advocates, placed a copyright on his works.
It is this legal cover that Gertrude Wamala has placed over her father’s works that Elly Wamala’s music is bound to live on for ages.
MARIA JUSTINE TULINA
When it comes to men who founded schools that have withstood the test of time, the late Professor Lawrence Mukiibi was among the best.
St Lawrence Academy Schools and Colleges, which he founded more than two decades ago, have expanded to include eight campuses, on top of having a university.
Mukiibi was an astute businessman but he has also had a weakness of siring many children, if the allegations of the numerous women who turned up with his children at his funeral are to be believed.
And yet, with all the children that he had, it is his daughter Maria Justine Tulina who is now in charge of the schools.
Tulina was elected the chairperson of the board of trustees of St Lawrence University, a position that her late father held. Tulina has the big task of ensuring that St Lawrence remains relevant in an increasingly competitive space.