• Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

Tribute: How Hajj Ali Mukalazi Became a Construction Magnate

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The death of Hajj Ali Mukalazi on 17th November 2022 was a huge shock to the real estate sector considering his impact on the construction of various infrastructures in Uganda.

Mukalazi left behind a wife, Edith Najjuka Mukalazi and more than 10 children. He passed on in Naguru Hospital due to kidney failure on November 17 at age of 86 and was buried on November 18 in the Mukalazi zone, Bukoto, Kampala.

In the early 1970s, he founded Mukalazi Technical Services when he had no idea that the construction company would oversee several infrastructural developments. 

Haji Ali Mukalazi’s Life

Mukalazi, the first of Rajabu Nsubuga and Yunia Namaloga’s two children, was born in 1936. Before enrolling in Junior One and Two at Kibuli SS, he attended Bombo Sudanese Primary School (now known as Bombo Umea Primary School). He then switched over to Kibuli Technical School and eventually to Nanziga, where he received his initial teacher training in elementary education before moving on to secondary education.

He got involved in politics after school and joined Kabaka Yekka (KY), a monarchist political group at the time in Uganda. When KY entered into an alliance with Milton Obote’s Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), the two established a life-changing friendship. He was appointed to the Kampala City Council due to his closeness and allegiance to Obote, as well as his technical school skills. He was to operate as the interim manager of the capital’s renovations.

Soon after, he relocated to America to further his skills in engineering. Obote promoted him to head of construction in the municipal council upon his return. But once Idi Amin toppled the government in 1971, he was compelled to resign.

Starting His Own Construction Company

In despair at losing his position on the municipal council, Mukalazi started his own private construction company. The removal of Asians from Uganda by Amin also influenced his choice. Given that the prior builders were mostly Asians, the status quo provided him with more market share.

Mukalazi Technical Services was founded in 1973 and has been in business for almost 50 years. The construction of buildings and roads, the production of concrete goods (such as culverts, blocks, barricades, and poles), and their transportation are its core business activities.

Additionally, the business was the first to occupy the Ntinda Industrial area. Its breakthrough occurred in 1975 during a meeting of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) held in Uganda. Amin hired Mukalazi Technical Services to build new roads and rehabilitate old ones in the city and its surroundings.

Mukalazi’s Fame

Nyakisharara Airfield in Bushenyi District received a makeover by Mukalazi under the Obote II administration. Mukalazi made sure that Obote’s homecoming festivities were flawless because that was the goal.

Due to his experience in infrastructure development, Mukalazi frequently interacted with bush war veterans. He later had influential and powerful positions in the federal administration. This is because he was a well-known developer who was regarded as having the ability to provide long-term answers to their system’s infrastructure issues.

Mukalazi exploited his connections with influential people to submit bids for government contracts that were offered in his favour, ensuring the company’s continued expansion.

Early in his presidency, President Museveni travelled to Algeria and talked positively of his experiences there and the people he met. He mentioned Mukalazi as one of the Ugandan businesspeople that met him at the Algiers airport. The President said that Mukalazi had a ready response when he asked what agricultural items Uganda might export to Algeria: yellow maize.

How Mukalazi’s Family Remembers Him

Son of the late Haji Ali Mukalazi and current director of Mukalazi Technical Services, Dauda Mukalazi says his father was a good-hearted man who valued cooperation.

He recalls an event from the early 1980s in which the late called back Eng Abdu Kagga, a colleague from Kagga and Partners Limited, who was at the time Nairobi’s city engineer.

Mukalazi desired that the two collaborate on the building jobs he had been hired to do in Uganda. He believed Eng Kagga should work on developing his nation rather than providing services abroad, which further demonstrated his love of his homeland.

The deceased’s younger brother, Mahamoud Nsubuga, spoke highly of him. Mukalazi, one of the largest landowners in Bukoto, had many people occupy his land unlawfully, but he never evicted any squatters. He owned more than 40 acres of land in total.

“He kept telling people on his land to work hard, find resources and pay him off,” Mr Nsubuga revealed.

He added that by hiring jobless youngsters at his stations and offering them a sizable daily wage, his brother reduced crime among young people in the area.

Mukalazi was a good manager who mentored several employees in his organisation.

According to Nasser Mukalazi, his other son and a co-director at the firm, at his funeral, several individuals praised the dead for “mentor[ing] and groom[ing] them into the construction business many years ago.”

The pioneer Executive Director of UNRA, Eng Peter Ssebanakitta, a former senior quality assurance officer at the Ministry of Water and Environment, Eng Moses Gava, a former Executive Director of URF, Mr Michael Odong, and Mr Moses Bbosa Ndege, the Managing Director of Multiplex Limited are notable examples of those whom he groomed.

Significant Works

After the main terminal building at Entebbe International Airport, constructed between 1972 and 1973, was finished, Mukalazi’s business oversaw the airport’s further construction, which began in 1975. He simultaneously oversaw the development of the runway and the sewage system.

His business also worked on the Entebbe State House reconstruction in 1986. Later, he would collaborate with Zimwe Constructions on the Nakasero State Lodge project. Mukalazi Services oversaw the development of Kololo Summit View, New Taxi Park, Mbuya Barracks, and Gulu Airport.

Originally built by Mukalazi Technical Services, Kaguta Road goes to President Museveni’s rural residence in Rwakitura.

Additionally, it handled building initiatives supported by the World Bank, including the South West Rural Agricultural Project in Ankole and the Uganda Support Infrastructure Municipal Development in the Ntungamo District.


According to Dauda Mukalazi, MD of Mukalazi Technical Services, his father Mukalazi planned for them as his children in every way possible, and he passed on content in the knowledge that they were all doing something with their lives.

He adds, “he helped us get ready by providing us with a top-notch education, showing us the key people in life, and teaching us his trade.”

Nasser Mukalazi said his father was a highly exacting and goal-oriented individual. He would give them tasks to complete and never gave in. He just cared about the outcomes. His guiding principle was to “do something in the shortest time with the best results.”

Mukalazi’s brother, Mohamoud Nsubuga says Ali loved people and adored Allah. He led several Muslims on holy pilgrimages to Mecca because of his love for both people and God.

He valued sacrificial giving and perseverance. He always gave his employees significant daily wages since he thought that those who work should be rewarded for their toil.

Employee Aziz Makumbi said, “I first met Mukalazi when I was a young man, and he helped shape me into the man I am now, both in terms of morals and in the construction industry. He constantly pushed me and my coworkers to try different things in construction.”


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