Businessman Dr Sudhir Ruparelia is among the mourners who have eulogized Amirali Karmali, the proprietor of Mukwano Group of Company, who died on Wednesday at his home in Kololo in Kampala after a long illness.
In his eulogy, the chairman Ruparelia Group of companies said Mzee Mukwano is forever be missed due to his enormous contribution towards the development of Uganda.
“Together with Mukwano and other local entrepreneurs, we made a humble contribution to the country’s economic transformation after years of turmoil,” he said.
Dr Sudhir further described Mukwano as a nationalist, humble and business legend of his [Sudhir] time.
“He rose from being a turn boy, to a truck driver and has died a successful businessman.”
Who was Mzee Mukwano?
Born on 25th December 1938 in Bukandula, Gomba district, Amirali Karmali was commonly known as Mzee Mukwano.
His title of Mzee Mukwano was due to the relationship of his father with Kabaka Edward Mutesa who referred to his father as “Mukwano Wa Baganda”. The name stayed with the family and it is the brand for all his companies.
Karmali never left Uganda even after the expulsion of the Asians in 1972. He started his life as a lorry driver with a fleet of a few trucks and then went on to trading.
Eventually, he went into manufacturing of soap, edible oil, plastics, paper packaging and property developments.
Amirali later shifted his base to Kampala. Nonetheless, the uncertainty during the time could not allow many businesses, including Mukwano, achieve their potential.
It thrived on and up to date, Mukwano produces most of the household items used in Uganda, including personal care products such as the petroleum jelly and drinking water.
A statement on the legacy of the business says Mukwano Industries Uganda Limited began operations in the 1980s in Kampala with a single enterprise store dealing in general merchandise and produce.