Parliament has praised business mogul, Dr. Alhajji Bulaimu Muwanga Kibirige alias BMK for his enormous contribution to the economy and resolved to rename Wampewo Avenue, an upscale Kampala suburb after him.
Kibirige, 67, known for his tenacity and hard work, succumbed to cancer-related complications from the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi on September 10, 2021. He was laid to rest on Sunday at the Nkoowe Muslim Cemetery in Wakiso district.
In a Plenary sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker Anita Among, MP Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) moved a motion for Parliament to pay tribute to the late Kibirige. The Motion was seconded by MP Michael Mawanda (Igara East).
Recounting his humble background as a 14-year-old primary school dropout who started work in his father’s restaurant in Masaka before graduating to a petty trader with outlets in Kampala, Nairobi, Bangkok and Thailand between 1973 and 1976, Nsereko said, that Kibirige has over the years, greatly contributed to the growth of the economy in Uganda.
Nsereko narrated that, upon his return from exile in 1986, Kibirige set up the now-famous BMK Group of companies, importing spare parts, reconditioned cars and motorcycles.
“He started the Boda Boda import business, which he grew to a level of manufacturing the famous BMK motorcycles with various branches in Ndeeba and Masaka, and later expanded his trading Empire to Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda and China,” he added.
He noted that Kibirige started Africana Hotel as a 50-room leisure business but at the time of his demise, the hotel had grown to over 250 rooms and self-contained apartments.
He said the hotel also boasts of one of the largest conference centres in the country with a sitting capacity of 3,500 persons.
“Unlike other business persons in this country, he shared his trade secrets when he authored a book titled, My story of Building a fortune in Africa,” he added.
Nsereko further revealed that Kibirige was a philanthropist who donated to several social causes, by paying school fees for many disadvantaged students, building mosques and churches to create community centres, financing the Uganda American Sickle Cell Rescue Fund, building a cemetery for use by the community and providing office space and funding for Uganda Hotel and Lodging Owner’s Association (UHOA).
In his book, My Story of Building A Fortune in Africa, Kibirige explains how he toiled for years and built Hotel Africana with branches in Kampala, Moroto and Lusaka in Zambia with business interests in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. He also owned a chain of spare parts outlets in Uganda, Dubai, Japan and Zambia.
Mawanda described Kibirige as a statesman who touched and changed many lives while Butambala County MP, Muwanga Kivumbi said his death is a big blow to the Muslim community, which he said in the recent past has lost many luminaries.
The 3rd Deputy Prime Minister Rukia Nakadama Isanga challenged Ugandans to emulate Kibirige’s rags to riches story, which she said is an inspiration to Ugandans of disadvantaged backgrounds.
Legislators eulogized Kibirige as a philanthropist who loved humanity. They recognized his resilience, determination, commitment, and his contribution to the economy. MPs continue to testify of his goodness.
Hajjat Minsa Kabanda, Minister for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs pledges to honour the Parliaments request to rename a key road after Kibirige.