“If a man is called a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Micheangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and Earth will pause to say, Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well,” Martin Luther King Jr once said
Borrowing from Martin Luther’s wisdom, the people of Bushenyi, Ankole, and Uganda, together with the hosts of heaven and earth on Saturday 25th May 2019 paused to credit Mzee William Mukaira as a great sweeper who did his job well. Mukaira was celebrating his 90th birthday, a life many say, is well lived. The celebration was held at his home in Bwatogo cell, Bushenyi-ishaka municipality.
Well-known for his commitment to hard work and self-determination, Mzee Mukaira, who now has ten years to become a centurion was joined by family, friends, peers, politicians, educationists, religious leaders, former students, and residents from Bushenyi and beyond as he celebrated his nine decades of his life on earth.
The rough estimates indicate that Mukaira was born around 1930s, in a remote village of Rwengyeya, Karaaro parish, Kyeizooba sub county, Bushenyi district.
Many stories surrounding his background, school life, working experience, political involvement, farming, land acquisition marriage, social obligation, hotel, arrest, are amazing. They need another day.
The famous Valley College, Valley Inn, Valley Wines, and Valley University of Science and Technology proprietor is remembered as a farmer, a hotelier, businessman, educationist, and politician who has stood a test of time as a unique man of the time.
Mukaira’s big day started with a thanksgiving service colored by the Holy Communion was officiated by Bishop William Magambo, the retired Bishop of West Ankole Diocese. He was in the company of Bishop Dan Zoreka, the Bishop of Kinkiizi Diocese and Bishop Yona Katoneene who is also the retired Bishop of West Ankole Diocese. Several religious leaders from different religions were present, an indicator that Mukaira was an all- round figure, who welcomed all regardless of the affiliation.
Popular political figures that Ankole and Uganda have had also joined the celebration. Notable were Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Elias Lukwago, Sam Birigwa, Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, Minister Mary Karooro Okurut, Willis Bashaasha, James Musinguzi Garuga, Legislator Gordon Arinda, Amanya Mushega, Richard Kaijuka, Cris Rwakasiisi, among others
Bishop Magambo, who delivered the sermon of the day said Mukaira has been instrumental in support Church activities from the time West Ankole Diocese was created. He said, Mukaira sat on many schools’ boards where he used his expertise as an educationist to bring about positive change.
Bishop Magambo also said that Mukaira has lived a life free of sectarianism and nepotism most especially in his political career in which he welcomed everyone and always stood his word.
“Mukaira was non-sectarian and practiced no nepotism. He was the first Anglican member from the Church of Uganda to openly announce his support for the Democratic Party after falling out with Uganda People’s Congress which was mainly for Anglicans. This brought him rejection from all sides, but he persevered,” said Bishop Magambo
Business man James Musinguzi Garuga, who has known Mukaira for the last 52 year described him as an industrious man, whose integrity, he upholds.
“I have known Mukaira for the last 52 years. I highly respect him and he is among the people I respect in Uganda. If we were to rate, he wouldn’t go beyond number three on the list of the people that I highly respect in Uganda,” said Garuga
Politicians including Kiiza Besigye, Yowasi Makaaru, Amanya Mushega, Richard Kaijuka and others said they celebrate Mukaira as a person of high integrity and clean leadership.
The Bushenyi-ishaka Municipality Member of Parliament, Gordon Arinda Cowboy said Mukaira’s contribution to the development of the region cannot be seen as a mean achievement. He added that Mukaira challenged the establishment in a positive way, something that made him excel and impact society.
His former students described him as a teacher, whose service, they enjoyed more than any other teacher of their time. They said, Mukaira taught them how to work hard and make long term and sustainable plans.
Minister of general duties in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mry Karooro Okurut, who carried President Yoweri Museveni’s gift to Mukaira said Mukaira’s life is a blessing to thousands in the region and country.
President Yoweri Museveni, whose leadership has irked Mukaira sent a gift of ten cows through minister Karooro.
In his speech, Mukaira attributed all his achievements to God, who has seen him through hard times and sustained his life, especially when he was arrested on different counts.
Mukaira is a man of nerves and master of all trades who has lived a legendary life. His achievements will impact generations because his value stands out and cuts across natural boundaries. What a life well lived!