Mr.Eria Sebunnya Bugembe aka Kasiwukira is the deputy treasurer of the Kwagalana Club( the Rich men’s Club in Kampala). I guess he is called ‘Kasiwukila’ due to the nature of his skin. Always pale and not as fancy and fashionable as his tycoon colleagues. I went to school with him in Old Kampala primary school. A very humble and smart young man he was. He began his humble business empire by duplicating and selling music on cassette tapes which the infamous batembeyi, [streethawkers] made a killing out of. He would also burn music from the old gram phone turn table and transfer the music on tapes. He later started importing music tapes from South Korea, and other far Eastern countries, and became the first and number one distributor of cassette tapes both empty and pre-recorded music tapes before the CD’s came on the market.
His investments are in commercial and residential properties all over Kampala and in the city suburbs. His first owned building was located on Nkrumah road right above the old taxi park where he began as a renter and later as a sole owner.
He lost his dad at a very tender age during the Idi Amin era. Some of our school mates during our year include;
- Allan Shunabi
- John Katto
- Fred, Nelly and other Kaala family members
- Pastor Michael Kyazze
- Pastor Lincoln Kasirye -London, UK
- Pastor John Musoke – Dallas
- George Musoke
- Dr. Philip Kiboneka [California?]
- Rose Ssali [Kampala]
- the late Elizabeth Mangeni,
- David Mangeni,
- Dr. Nick Masozera [Houston, TX]
- the late Badru Kakembo,
- The Sseruwagi’s [ Boxing coach legend]
- John Ssemugooma,
- The Faghil Monday’s
- Liz, the late wife of Patrick Katto and many others
Unfortunately, the last time i saw his photo was in the Monitor news paper, which featured his wedding ceremony about four years ago. I must add that he bought a brand new Mercedes Benz as a personal wedding gift to his newly wedded wife and sent her to London, on a one week shopping trip! Back in our days, he was popularly known as; James Ssebunya.
In 2006, the Kikuubo Kwagalana Group met President Yoweri Museveni to negotiate for better investing conditions.
According to records from Uganda Travel website, the President assured them of the Government’s commitment to “giving them fair taxation because they qualify for incentives given to investors whose projects are worth $500,000 (about sh1b) and above”.
Over a decade later, what started as a lobby group is now an exclusive club of Kampala’s richest tycoons. The average net worth of each member is about $15m (sh30b).
Now called Kwagalana Members Club, they own businesses and real estate. They own prime buildings and land in downtown Kampala and the central business district.
A source conversant with land matters in the city said that a plot of land in the city centre goes for between $2m and $2.5m.
And a building goes for about $4m-$4.5m (between sh8b and sh9b). They live like one family. They gather in both good and bad times.
When Sudhir Ruparelia, a member of the group, lost his mother, they boarded the next plane to go and mourn with him in London. They also ran a full-page condolence message in the newspapers. The advert included a list of all their names.
If a member of the club has a social function like a wedding of a son or daughter, the club will take charge of the budget and organisation.
A few of the members went through the formal education system or are employed by the State. Their 40-member club is exclusive and no one can become a member regardless of their status.
Out of Kwagalana emerged another club, Twagalane, which comprises young ‘tycoons’, mainly sons and daughters of the Kwagalana members.
The young professionals sought the blessing of their seniors and started their own club last year. At a highly billed launch of the club, a group of 50 young professionals, launched Twagalane Club to break away from their mentors’ wings.
The launch started off on a high notch with sh55m on the club’s account within hours of its inception in July last year.
Impressed by the young professionals’ vision, Kwagalana members forked out sh2m as a token to the young professionals.
Top on the young club’s agenda is charity work and investing in real estate. All the 50 members who are mainly into business are worth $3m (about sh6b).
Who are the members of Kwagalana Club and what do they own?
Total worth: About $60m (sh120b).
He is an importer, dealer in general merchandise and owns several buildings in the city centre.
He is the proprietor of Kirumira Towers on William Street, Royale Complex on Market Street, BTC Building in Ndeeba, Hotel Havana and Muyenga Hotel (former International Hotel).
He is a former chairman of Express Football Club, where he was dubbed ‘Perez’ after the former Real Madrid president.
He is also the proprietor of a chain of fuel stations and private schools — Bright Future in Bwebajja and St. Mary’s Junior Nabbingo.
Kirumira is also proprietor of Royal Cash Forex, Money Point Forex, a bus company, BTC Transporters; KPI Security Company, KPI Petroleum Ltd, Premium Commodities, which deals in produce — maize and beans; and Baggery Trading Company. He’s the leading importer of bales of second-hand clothes and shoes.
Eriya Sebunya Bugembe (treasurer)
Total worth: About $25m (sh50b).
He is popularly known as ‘Kasiwukira’ after his famed Kasiwukira Studios, one of Uganda’s pioneer music production studios. Bugembe’s fortune includes Najjanankumbi-based SEB Industries, which produces tiles and pavers. He owns buildings like Nalubwama Arcade on Ben Kiwanuka Street and Temuseo Mpoza on Luwum Street. He also owns several other properties in the city suburbs.
Total worth: About $100m (sh200b).
He owns a quarter of the buildings strategically located in Kampala’s central business district.
Sudhir is the founder and chairman of the Ruparelia Group of Companies, which include banks, hotels, insurance, forex bureaus, schools and other investments.
He owns Crane Chambers on Kampala Road, City House on Luwum/William streets; Raja Chambers, Baumann House, the building housing the Police headquarters and Development House — all located on Parliamentary Avenue.
He also owns Platinum House on Market Street and Club Sway on Kampala Road. He has built a few, but most of his buildings have been acquired from people who default on loans from his moneylending services.
Sudhir’s business empire includes hotels: Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kabira Country Club, Speke Hotel on Nile Avenue and Tourist Hotel on Dastur Street.
He owns Crane Bank, Crane Forex Bureau, Meera Investments and Gold Trust Insurance Company.
He is also into agri-businesses like flower growing (Rosebud) and the education sector, running schools like Kabira International School and Kampala Parents School.
Total worth: About $15m (sh30b).
Based in Kikuubo, Bbosa is the main agent for Orbit, a chewing gum brand. He owns three commercial buildings in Kikuubo and owns the biggest private hostel at Nkozi University.
Total worth: About $9m (sh18b).
He is a property dealer. He owns Hardware Deals House in Nakawa Industrial area. He owns several other business premises, land and real estate in the city.
Total worth: About $20m (sh40b).
He is a construction magnate who has bagged some of the country’s major road building and housing contracts through his Zzimwe Construction Company.
His works include the much criticised reconstruction of several Kampala roads and the refurbishment of State House, Entebbe.
Kasagga owns residential houses in affluent city suburbs, but his country home in Seeta, valued at over $1m, is said to be the most expensive in the country.
The sprawling home on a 68-acre hill has a 4km tarmac road and driveways where two trailers can park.
Epimac Kagoro Total worth: About $15m (sh30b).
He is believed to be the leading private transporter of goods in the country. He has about 50 trailers. He also owns buildings in downtown Kampala.
Haj Yusuf Matovu Total worth: About $15m (sh30b).
He is an importer and trader in tiles and sanitary hardware. He owns Youma Building on Kampala Road and about six mansions in the affluent Muyenga suburb.
Gaster Lule ‘Ntake’ (secretary)
Total worth: About $10m (sh20b).
He is the proprietor of Ntake Bakery and wheat suppliers in Nalukolongo, Masaka Road.
Lule owns Gadith Building on William Street and recently bought another prime plot in Nakasero near Centenary Bank. He has a lot of land in and outside Kampala.
Godfrey Kyeswa Total worth: About $10m (sh20b).
He imports general merchandise and owns a number of commercial buildings in downtown Kampala. He owns Gazaland Shopping Arcade on Luwum/William streets.
Other members of Kwagalana
James Bwogi Total worth: About $10m (sh20b).
Kikuubo-based general merchandise trader/importer and fuel dealer. He owns residential houses in Kololo.
Total worth: About $8m (sh16b).
Owns Kizito Towers on Luwum Street, several business premises and residential houses in affluent Ntinda, Naguru and Kansanga suburbs
Total worth: About $7m (sh14b).
Proprietor of HAKS car bond, which he purchased from Hassan Basajjabalaba. He also owns Embassy Hotel in Kabalagala.
Viva Bukenya Total worth: About $7m (sh14b).
Agent for Hima and Bamburi cement, owns a number of hardware shops in Kampala and has a building in Ndeeba.
Medi Sebaggala Total worth: About $6m (sh12b).
He’s the proprietor of Kiyembe Lane-based Sebaggala and Sons Electronics and World of Lights on Kayunga Road in Kamwokya. He also owns a luxurious residential house in Kololo rented by the US embassy.
Mutaasa Kafeero Total worth: About $15m (sh30b).
Owns hotels Triangle on Buganda Road and another in Jinja, Mutaasa Kafeero Mall on Luwum Street and Zainabu Aziza Emporium on Wilson Road.
Robert Mulinde Total worth: About $5m (sh10b).
Imports motorcycles in Ndeeba, owns Kings View Hotel, has a building on Luwum Street and a farm in Mpigi.
Charles Kakumba Total worth: About $4.5m (sh9b).
Imports used Japanese car spare parts. He owns a commercial building in Katwe.
Total worth: About $4m (sh8b). Proprietor of Speedy Flight.
Total worth: About $4m (sh8b).
Has huge chunks of land in Kisozi and buildings in Old Kampala and Nabugabo.
One of the Kabaka’s strongmen, he owns Marvel Road Contractors, has several plots of prime land in Kampala and huge chunks in Butambala.
Tom Kitandwe Total worth: About $10m (sh20b).
He started as a wheat agent in Kikuubo. His buildings include Giant Shopping Arcade in Kikuubo, Nakasero Complex on Nakivubo Road, Mid City Arcade on Nakivubo Road and Mackay Building on Old Rashid Khamis Road near New Taxi Park.
Mansur Matovu Total worth: About $15m (sh30b).
Imports motorcycles (bodabodas) and owns several buildings: Zayi Plaza on Kiyembe Lane, Ivory Plaza and Sunset Arcade on Wilson Street.
Babirye Mugerwa Total worth: About $10m (sh20b).
Cosmetics importer from Dubai and owns buildings in city centre: Park View, Yamaha Centre, H & B Plaza.
Muwanga Kibirige (BMK) Total worth: About $20m (sh40b).
Imports automobiles and spare parts. Also a hotelier, industrialist and construction tycoon. He set out as a small- scale trader in used Japanese car spare parts and has made it to the big scale to expand his wings into other businesses.
He owns Hotel Africana on Wampewo Avenue and has several buildings in city suburbs like Katwe and Ndeeba. He produces polythene bags and runs a forex bureau.
He is into plumbing and hardware and owns a hardware shop in Nakasero.
Deo Kiweewa ‘Kirowoza’
He is a trader in ladies’ clothes (busuuti), based on Luwum Street, from which he has amassed wealth over the last two decades.
He’s constructing a seven-storey building below Capital Shoppers in Nakasero near the Indian temple in Kampala.
He is a car spare parts and tyres dealer based on Ben Kiwanuka Street. He also owns a commercial building in Ndeeba, a city suburb.
The other club members are: Christopher Ssaazi, Haj Swaibu Kiyemba, Haj Badru Muwanga, Frank Ssonko, John Bagambe, Jimmy Kiwanuka, Nasur Musosi and Fenekansi Mwesigwa. They are mainly traders dealing in hardware, electronics, spare parts, real estate and general merchandise based in Kikuubo, Nakasero, Katwe and Ndeeba.