Who is Mike Mukula? Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, age, wife, family, Soroti Municipality, National Resistance Movement (NRM), GAVI funds, relationship with Gladys Mukula, Jim Muhwezi, the Minister of State for Health Dr Kamugisha, Alice Kaboyo, early life and education of George Michael Mukula.
George Michael Mukula, best known as Mike Mukula is a Ugandan politician, professional pilot, and businessman.
He is the former Member of Parliament representing Soroti Municipality, Soroti District from 1996 till 2016 on the National Resistance Movement (NRM) ticket.
Early Life and Education
Captain Mike Mukula was born on 27 August 1956, in Soroti District, Teso Sub-Region in Eastern Uganda.
He was born to a humble family; his mother was a teacher who raised them single handily after their separation from their father who was a pharmacist when they were still young.
He narrates that his father who worked with several hospitals including Mulago National Referral Hospital, was so cruelly to his mother, that he used to beat her. And as a single mother, she used the little money she earned as a teacher to raise her children.
Mukula and his siblings faced a lot of challenges as regards school fees; they were always on and off. Later, his mother taught him how to cook and sell mandazi to earn school fees plus a living. Some days they could go without food, and this motivated Mukula to work hard.
Later on, Mukula relocated to Entebbe where his uncle resided and this is where his dream of becoming a pilot originated from. He admired the air hostesses and pilots at Entebbe International Airport and developed a passion to become a pilot.
Mike Mukula attended Soroti Church of Uganda Primary School, then Teso College Aloet for his primary and secondary education respectively. He used to walk six miles to and from school, barefooted and sometimes without feeding for the entire day.
Some days his cousins would share with him the leftover food, which was also not accepted at school. Mukula also recalls his mother selling off her bicycle that was gifted to her by a British friend to pay his school fees.
Later on, his mother took him to stay with one of his teachers at school before moving in to stay with one of his uncles named Okwi, a medical assistant in Soroti Hospital then, who resided close to the school.
The arrangement to stay with the Uncle was made after he escaped death when he was hit by a sack where he used to sleep at night; he was rescued by another child named Oryem who he shared the storeroom. He used to sleep on the floor and work hard at the teacher’s home.
At a certain point in time, Mukula’s uncle took leave and they ran out of food. He ate all the cassava they had in the house and stayed three days without food.
One day at 7:00 pm, Mukula wandered into town very hungry and when he saw one of his uncles and his friend who worked with one of the banks in Soroti, he moved close to them and broke down crying.
He asked him why he was crying and answered he had stayed for three days without food. Mukula’s uncle ordered a bottle of soda (Fanta) and two sambusa for him to eat. To him, it was heaven on earth. He thereafter cherished his uncle till the time of his death.
After Secondary School, Mukula was unable to join higher institutions of learning because his mother couldn’t afford school fees and decided to look for a job to earn a living.
He relocated to Kampala City to live with one of his uncles. He moved to many relatives seeking employment but all in vain, one day a friend of his uncle told him I don’t have a job for you and never come to my office again. The third time he went to request for job placement and this broke him completely.
Mukula after failing to find a job choose to wash cars at a washing bay in Nakivubo by then. Later, he got a job at the late Nasser Ntege Ssebagala’s home, dropping his children to and from school, including washing and ironing clothes.
However, Ssebagala had a wife the late Ellen, a British woman who late died in an accident at Mabira Forest, a head-on collision. She sponsored his dream of becoming a pilot, a very compassionate and understanding woman.
She got him a vacancy at the Kenya School of Flying at Wilson Airport in Nairobi Kenya after revealing to her his dream to become a pilot. However, Mukula completed his pilot’s training in Texas, United States of America (USA), and then obtained his professional pilot’s license from the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda.
In 2005, Captain Mike Mukula graduated with a Master of Business Administration from Nkumba University. 2009, Mukula was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Latin University of Theology, based in Torrance, California, USA.
He as well attended Harvard where he studied political and economic reforms, and Israelites Military Academy, one of the best training academies in the world.
Work and Experience
Captain Mike Mukula personally piloted the president in one of those planes. He served as his pilot. At one point he desired to join President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in the bush, but he did not have away.
But after joining Soroti Flying School, a centre of excellence for training pilots in East Africa at the time, he became a commercial pilot and instructor and that’s how he ended up becoming President Museveni’s pilot.
On 30th 1995, Mukula joined politics supporting the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and in 1986, Mukula joined elective politics as the Soroti Municipality Member of Parliament.
He joined elective politics because he wanted to serve his community, not for money or a career.
One of the motions he moved at parliament was to disarm the Karamojonjs because they were disturbing his people in the Teso sub-region, raiding their animals and indeed the government managed to disarm the Karamojonjs.
He got re-elected to parliament in 2001, 2006 and 2011. In May 2015, Mukula announced that he would leave elective politics effective March 2016 and indeed he never returned to parliament.
He served as the State Minister for Health from 2001 till 2006. He lost the ministerial post in the cabinet reshuffle of 23 May 2006. Currently, Mukula is the Vice Chairperson Eastern region of Uganda.
During the time he served as Minister, Mukula was part of the team that initiated a mass immunization program against measles in October 2003 for children from six months to 15 years. At the time, measles was killing hundreds of children in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.
This included maternal care, ARVs, ABC program, that’s A-Abstinence, B-Faithful, and C- condom use strategy, which was highly uploaded globally. Roll out of Primary Healthcare Program where they introduced health centres I, II, III, IV, & IV.
Before that, he served as Secretary of Defense Nakawa Bugolobi, chairperson LCII, Vice-Chairperson Nakawa Division, Councilor Kampala City Council and then Riham Industries Chairperson.
However, before, Mukula worked as a houseboy at the late Hajji Ntege Ssebagala’s residence. He used to drive children to school, wash their cars, and iron clothes among other chores.
Also, while attending school in Texas, Mukula worked odd jobs to earn a living. He worked in Ken Shoes and sold ice cream at an Italian restaurant specialising in Ice Cream and this earned him some money he partly used to sponsor his flying school and also buy his first car from Japan.
Later, he imported more cars including setting up an ice cream plant called Bimbo Ice Cream in Uganda in 1983, as well as making mandazi, quality cakes and bread out of the savings he accumulated during the period two years he stayed, studied and worked in the US from 1978-1980.
After some time, Mukula together with a Chinese partner established a restaurant named China Palace Restaurant, the first of its kind in Uganda. He as well runs several businesses in Uganda and currently employs approximately 2000 people.
His ventures include; The Uganda Aviation School, Soroti Hotel, a radio station in Teso, and Tour Travel Agency among other businesses.
Mukula is a successful businessman who now plans to set up a syringes plant in the country, a salt factory, grain plant, and he’s also into rally driving and training at Busiika.
Captain George Michael Mukula together with the Minister of Health Jim Muhwezi, the Minister of State for Health Dr Kamugisha and Alice Kaboyo were prosecuted by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) for alleged theft of Shs 210,000,000/= (approximately USD$56,800).
Mukula was convicted and incarcerated but later appealed the sentence and conviction before the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court of Uganda, on March 13, 2013, and was acquitted of all charges by the appellant court.
He narrates that he was incarcerated for political reasons, demonized such that the public perceives him differently. But all in all, Mukula was very innocent in the matter charged against him. No single cash was stolen as witnessed by the late Emmanuel Mutebile (late), former Bank of Uganda Governor (BoU).
He says it was the most painful experience, and ever since then, Mukula has vowed never to engage in politics, and indeed in 2016, he denounced active politics.
This followed a report presented before President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni by the IGG resulting from the investigations into the alleged mismanagement and abuse of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) funds on 5 April 2007.
On 5 April 2007, the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) wrote a report to His Excellency the President of Uganda following their investigations into the alleged mismanagement and abuse of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) funds.
Based on the report, the Inspectorate of Government recommended prosecution, restitution, and possible imprisonment if found guilty. He was incarcerated and declined the proposed bail, and served his sentence till the end.
Captain Mike Mukula is married to Gladys Mukula and together they’re parents of four children.
Capt. Mike Mukula is a teetotaler, takes no cigarettes and is a health freak. He likes exercising very much having a well-equipped gymnasium at his house.
He’s an organized man, very clean, compassionate, loving, hardworking, honest, caring, friendly and speaks every language in Uganda.