George Michael Mukula commonly known as Mike Mukula; the former Member of Parliament for Soroti Municipality and a former minister of State for Health is his mother’s son.
He was born into a humble family in Soroti, eastern Uganda. His mother was a teacher, who raised him and his sibling as a single mother after she left their father who used to batter her. She raised her children on the little money she was paid as a teacher and supplemented it with petty business.
She also taught Mukula business. He recalls the times his mother would send him off to sell mandazi, But money was never enough. Mukula and his sibling were often sent away from school over failure to pay fees. In Mukula’s case, it got to a point where a headmaster had to take up paying his school fees. But Mukula recalls emotionally how his mother was one day called to school by the head teacher to finally take her son out of school because he could not afford his school fees. He was being laid off.
“When she arrived, she broke down and cried,” recalls Mukula, “She pleaded that he be given more time till she gets the money to clear his fees.”
She offered to go sell her most valuable treasure which then was a bicycle to raise money for his fees.
Soon Mukula moved to live with an uncle in Entebbe, which became the defining moment in his life. Entebbe has Uganda’s only international airport and Mukula fell in love with the smartness of the air hostesses and pilots at the airport. He developed admiration for flying and it became his passion.
When Mukula left secondary school, he moved to Kampala to stay with anather uncle. But he soon moved out to live with a friend in a one roomed house or ‘muzigo’. He recalls that he had only one pair of shoes, one pair of socks, and one under wear. But dreamed of a better life and was determined to make it.
Mukula’s breakthrough started when he was hired as a driver of former Kampala city mayor Al Hajji Ntege Ssebagala, then a prominent business person. Mukula used to drive Ssebagala’s children. He says he was loved by his boss and his then wife the late Darlene Ssebagala. When he told them about his aspiration, they paid for him to enroll at flying school. When he finished the first stage, they again paid for him to enroll in a flying school in the United States of America. He returned to Uganda practiced at Soroti Flying School.
Mukula says his mother is the reason he is what he is today. He loved and treasured her so much. He says she shaped him. Later in life, when he started to make some money, he decided to give his mother the best life ever. He got her one of the best houses in Kampala. He could not let her retire in the village. She died in 2016.