By Denis Jjuuko
KAMPALA — Francis Buwule met Charles Peter Mayiga at Makerere University’s law school and they became friends. After Law Development Centre, Buwule went to work at Katende and Ssempebwa Advocates, one of Uganda’s leading law firms.
Mayiga went to the Ministry of Justice as State Attorney, a job that bored him and he left to start a business in Kikuubo selling wheat and sugar. In Kikuubo, Kampala’s trading hub, he would meet most of the guys you saw on the Ettoffaali drive such as Guster Lule Ntakke and Fred Kiyimba Freeman’s elder brother.
Buwule was unhappy with Mayiga’s decision to go to Kikuubo at that time.
Unlike today, Kikuubo was mainly for informal traders majority of who hadn’t got the kind of qualifications Mayiga had. Buwule considers Mayiga too bright and perhaps too sophisticated to sell wheat and sugar.
At Katende and Ssempebwa, one of the founders , John W. Katende tasked Buwule to identify a young smart lawyer to work as Administrative Secretary to the Ssaabataka Supreme Council, the precursor to the restored Buganda Lukiiko. Buwule submitted a list with only one name — Charles Peter Mayiga.
John W Katende invited Mayiga to a meeting. Rev Dan Kajumba was on the panel. Mayiga accepted the interview mainly as way of stopping Buwule from nagging him. At the interview, Mayiga impressed his interviewers.
With his Kikuubo business, he said money wasn’t a motivation but he felt he needed to right the wrongs of Obote.
Mayiga had grown up in a home where the 1966 crisis was a discussion topic on the dinner table.
Unknown to Mayiga, by accepting to be the first employee to work in the soon to be reinstated Kingdom, he had signed a lifetime contract to serve Buganda. Just before he was appointed Katikkiro in May 2013, Mayiga had told Buwule that he wanted to quit and fully concentrate on his businesses.
Buwule this afternoon launched his book on Mayiga’s rise to the Katikkiroship at Bulange. The book is titled Mayiga: the Transformation Katikkiro. Buwule is very clear that this book is not a biography of Mayiga although it reads like one.
In the book, Buwule chronicles their relationship, the issues that tested their friendship, the businesses they do together, and what he thinks of Mayiga as Katikkiro. I was lucky to read the manuscript. It is jaw dropping!
In 1993, Mayiga called Buwule and over a drink, Mayiga asked his friend when they will start a law firm. They identified three other friends including Owek Apollo Nelson Makubuya to be partners. The three friends pulled out leaving Buwule and Mayiga to go it on their own.
This delayed the start of Buwule & Mayiga Company Advocates by a few months. In 1994, Buwule left Katende and Ssempebwa and Mayiga left Bulange to start their law firm.
Mayiga often jokes to his ‘brother’ that hadn’t it been him, he would be owning many malls in Kampala. Buwule usually responds that because of him, he superintends over the biggest mall in Uganda — Buganda Kingdom.