It is a public secret that tycoon Mohan Musisi Kiwanuka’s Business Empire is facing unprecedented turbulence resulting from a disagreement with his son, Jordan Ssebuliba Kiwanuka.
Although he has lived a low profile for many decades, Kiwanuka is the Chief Executive Officer of renowned Oscar Industries and runs a number of businesses including properties in Kampala and its environs.
The bitter fight has since escalated to include Ssebuliba and his mother Beatrice Kavuma (Kiwanuka’s old wife) on one hand and Maria Nabasirye Kiwanuka and her husband Kiwanuka on the other.
Ssebuliba accuses Maria of using her husband’s vegetative state to swindle family property and evict his old children and their mother, Kavuma from their work and residential premises.
Ssebuliba has run to court asking it to declare his father a person of unsound mind, purportedly resulting from the reported dementia related ailments. He prayed that court finds his father incapable of running his businesses and instead declare him (Ssebuliba) the overall administrator of tens of family companies.
However, the property mogul has since stood his ground, said he is stable, knows what he is doing and indeed, successfully convinced of the same, Court recently ruled in Kiwanuka’s favour (that he is of sound mind).
This leaves Ssebuliba’s case with leaning of no balancing position.
But what is the source of trouble? Why would a son take his father to court? Why would a son want to takeover family business even when the father is alive and of sound mind?
Here’s the story
Ssebuliba, who his father commonly refers to as Jordan, was the Company Secretary of Visa Investments, one of Kiwanuka’s businesses running several properties.
He has since been fired and asked to vacate some properties in Kololo including one where he (Jordan) runs his business ‘Seven Trees’.
Ssebuliba, a lawyer by profession, opened war against his father when he (Kiwanuka) instructed his lawyers to push him (Ssebuliba) out of the properties located on LRV 210 Folio 20, Plot 21-29, Golf Course Road, Kololo and Plot 10 Akii Bua Road, Nakasero.
In a letter dated 17th June 2019 to his son and copied in to his lawyers of M/S Buwule & Mayiga Advocates, Kiwanuka tells off Ssebuliba to vacate his properties after he (Ssebuliba) portrayed him as inconsiderate and unreasonable among his siblings and relatives which the tycoon says was untrue.
“You will recall you moved into my properties without my knowledge and or permission, which no other sibling of yours has ever done. You occupied these properties for the last ten (10) years on commercial basis generating money there from without any accountability and without paying rent,” the old man writes to the son.
He adds: “You knew from the beginning that I acquired those properties as commercial investments and not for charity. On several occasions, I verbally asked you in a parental manner to make arrangements to return the properties back to me for proper management but you turned a deaf ear. It is therefore not true that the notice from my lawyers came unexpectedly or was a surprise. You knew I needed you out of these properties many years back.”
The tycoon adds that he was taken aback when Ssebuliba dared to suggest to his face that he should close up and sell his factory.
“Jordan, I was greatly disappointed and hurt. You cannot fathom where I have come from to achieve whatever I have achieved and for you, you have the audacity to dare to suggest that I should sell my factory because in your view, I can no longer manage to run it, was an insult to say the least,” the letter further reads.
It adds: “In light of your ill-advised actions, I have come to learn how you have been trying to influence my staff behind my back to stop them from working on Saturdays and how you deducted payments from the security staff without you declaring it. This is a direct interference with my workers and intermeddling in my work which I cannot continue to tolerate.”
Kiwanuka further notes that after his son’s ill-fated advice or directive for the sale of the factory, he (Jordan) instigated people who claimed to be KCCA enforcement people to come to the factory on or about the 21st May 2019 and threatened to close the factory for unpaid dues.
“Fortunately I had previously given a payment schedule to KCCA which they had accepted but their response was received at your office and [you] never forwarded to me. There are a number of other unpleasant incidents I could mention but I hope the above gives you a sense of my feelings and the reasons behind my decision. I gave you the best education and upbringing just like all your siblings. In return, I have not seen any particular moment where you have shown care for me, your father but only insatiable desire to grab whatever you can lay your hands on,” he adds.
In the emotional letter, Kiwanuka concludes: “I want you and your siblings to know that I made my investments on my own business instincts which most people could not appreciate at the time but turned out well as I had anticipated. I now need those properties and it will be decent of you to hand them back to me without the embarrassment of resorting to auctioneers or any other forceful methods for that matter.”
Whereas Ssebuliba says he is fighting for his siblings, in an interview with The Investigator, Kiwanuka, who has since disowned him (Ssebuliba) as his biological son, says: “Actually, the whole thing is about Jordan himself. He represents nobody in the tricks of grabbing my property. I know and surely trust that his siblings will one day realize the truth that he’s doing everything for personal and selfish gains…”
He adds: “…I have gone through a lot with Jordan. He has so far put caveats on over 50 of my properties. It all started when I asked him to leave the two assets which have not yielded any income for the last 10 years. That’s when he declared me lunatic, mad and vegetable. I am not in a vegetative state as you can see. I can still respond to my senses and command my feelings. He has dragged me to court over several allegations. He at one time dared me to sell off my factory and clear debts! How then can he purport to be fighting to save the same?”
When Maria Kiwanuka, a former Finance Minister, was asked why she is commanding her husband to do all what he does against her step children, she said: “It also surprises me that the son I have brought up with all requisites of a good child can smear me before the public. The good thing is you have listened to the Chairman for close to an hour and he has personally responded to you without a single guidance from me. Another thing is he has a string of lawyers and legal advisors. I am not one of them.”
Kiwanuka insists that he is officially married to one wife, Maria.
He says that upon his mother’s death recently, he advised Beatrice to use his fallen mother’s house in Kamwokya and let out hers in Kololo, for her upkeep.
“I had someone who wanted to give her USD5, 000 per month and my advice was simple. ‘Now that you’re aging, you need not to hustle,’ but the only answer from her was; ‘who sleeps in Kamwokya.”
He says he has never attempted to evict Beatrice from the Kololo residence.
It’s not clear how this fight will end, but certainly it is Kiwanuka’s legacy at stake as his several businesses will be affected.