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HAJJI MUKAKANDI: The Hustler’s Journey from Restaurant Waiter to Mbale Tycoon Gunning for City NRM Chair

By Markson Omagor




Born Isma Mukakandi Walujjo and becoming a Hajji in 2010, the self-made tycoon now aspiring to become the NRM Mbale City Chairman shared his humble beginning with this website on 25th July 2022.


Hajji Mukakandi tells a story of a poor kid growing up in a harsh environment, his education through government aided primary schools (now UPE schools), dropping out of school after O’ Level, the journey into the business world and politics.


Eastnews: Who is Hajji Mukakandi?


Hajji Mukakandi: My name is Hajji Isma Mukakandi Walujjo, born on 19th July, 1979 to Hajji Ahamed Mukakandi and Hajjat Kanyi Zuena. I was born in Nakaloke Town Council which was then Nakaloke Sub County in Northern Division, Mbale City.

Eastnews: Take us through your education


Hajji Mukakandi: I studied in Kolony Primary School, then Namakwekwe Primary school, Nabuyonga Primary and finally Buwamwangu Primary school in Bukonde Sub County where I sat for PLE.


Thereafter, I joined Nkoma Secondary School from 1993 to 1996 when I sat for my O, Level exams. I did not proceed to A’ Level because of financial constraints.


In fact the following year, 1997, I got a job with Mukwano restaurant as a waiter and worked for two years trying to make ends meet.


Eastnews: How did you start business that has made you what you are today?


Hajji Mukakandi: Being a hustler that I am, in 1999, I went to Malaba border where I joined Crescent International Clearing and Forwarding Company as a Declaration Clerk. In 2004 I joined Penny International Clearing & Forwarding Company where I worked for three years.


The experience I got from these two clearing companies introduced me to import business which I started in 2008. That is how I started making my own money.


Now I own a number of businesses under LUTUFIYA Enterprises Ltd where I am the Managing Director. So you can see that I am not into NRM Politics to make money but to provide leadership and improve on the Party’s fortunes in Mbale City.


Eastnews:  Now there are some NRM Party leaders in Mbale who are accusing you of being a masquerader, that you are not NRM enough, can you take us through your NRM Party politics journey?


Hajji Mukakandi: First of all I was born into an NRM Party, all my parents are staunch supporters of NRM and President Museveni. I have not known any other Party apart from NRM.


Actively, I started supporting and sponsoring NRM Flagbearers in 2006 general elections in Mbale district including the City. I have also actively participated in mobilizing votes for the Party and President Museveni since 2006.


I am an NRM Party Card holder NO: 081071797 which was issued on the 29th May, 2015.


As you aware, I am also the current Councilor Mbale City Council representing Workers. Although I contested on the Independent ticket, I am wholly NRM, so whoever claims that I am not NRM is a dreamer.


Eastnews: What has prompted you to vie for the position of Mbale City NRM Chairman?



Hajji Mukakandi: First and foremost, the methods being used by the current leadership in mobilizing support are counterproductive. You see when you are canvassing for support you don’t need to be combative, don’t look at the opposition as enemies, don’t ignore them, try as much as possible to bring them on board.


There is also a big problem of transparency or lack of it. How can three people be given a flag for the same position? So whoever reaches the nomination center first will be the one who eventually takes the flag! This must stop, I want a Party where flagbearers are elected in a transparent manner.


Besides, I don’t see the current leadership engaging the grassroots party supporters in party activities. They are not given opportunity even in choosing their own leaders.


The lower Party leaders are also not empowered to carryout Party activities. Usually they are not and or are poorly facilitated when mobilizing for the Party and its candidates.


Eastnews: Just a quick one; how do you intend to improve on facilitation of lower party leaders?

Hajji Mukakandi: By ensuring that whatever the Party has released for mobilization reaches these foot soldiers and if it is inadequate, I can even dig into my own pockets after all I have been sacrificing for the Party for long.


Then finally, I think it is wrong for leaders to personalize Party offices. Members should be encouraged to participate in making decisions for the Party not the other way round where decisions are taken from the top and pushed through the throats of lower Party leaders.


So overall, I want a grassroots centered Party leadership with regular meetings of the lower Party leadership, support and empower the Lower Party leaders, improve on transparency and use a more friendly approach in wooing opposition members.


Eastnews: Anything else you want to say?


Hajji Mukakandi: As an NRM Mbale City Chairman, I would want to see government programs and objectives promoted in the City. I also encourage the grooming of younger cadres who will ultimately be able to take over from some of us.


And to those who allege that my candidature is to fight the Party, they should know that I have come to provide leadership and that is all.


Thank you very much, next time I will give a comprehensive plan on how I intend to approach the many youths that are being lured by the opposition because they are either unemployed or under employed.


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