Sembuya (left) at a recent function. PHOTO/COURTESY

Christopher Sembuya, one of the proprietors and founders of Sembule Group of Companies, is dead.

Sembuya died on Tuesday. The cause of his death is not yet confirmed. His son Stephen Sembuya confirmed the news.

The Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) described his passing as a big loss to the country.

“We are saddened by the passing on of Mr. Sembuya Christopher, the proprietor of former Sembule Steel Mills. The late was one of the Founding members of the Association who championed the transformation of Uganda’s industrialisation. May His Soul Rest in Peace,” UMA said.

Sembuya and Henry Buwule founded Sembule Steeling Rolling Mills. It grew into The Sembule Group. By the early years of scarcity in the mid-1980s, Sembule Group had expanded and diversified into banking, electronics, construction, and trade.

Sembule Group had in the 90s become a household name and was the first company owned by Ugandans to manufacture steel products, including wire mesh and nails.

The group also started a bank Sembule Investment Bank, an insurance firm – Pan World Insurance and a television and radio assembling plant.

But the company run into financial trouble recently over failure to pay debts.

Sembule Group of Companies lost its Shs27b factory in Nalukolongo to city businessman Frank Nekusa.

Mr Nekusa bought the factory from bailiffs at Shs5b and paid off other outstanding debts.

The company’s troubles started in 1997 when it acquired a loan from PTA Bank to expand its banking experience but the bank [Sembule Investment Bank] was run down by poor management, according to Bank of Uganda, and was eventually placed under liquidation.