Kalita Bus Company owner Patrick Lucky Atwooki rose from humble roots as a taxi driver to owning one of the country's best known bus companies. How did he do it?
Lucky died last night at the heart institute, Mulago Hospital. According to the deceased’s brother, Michael Asaba, Lucky has been battling with throat cancer for more than four years.
Lucky gained prominence in the Tooro region in 1999, when he purchased a bus named Kalita, to ply the Fort-Portal-Kampala road. It was the first bus to ply the Fort Portal-Kampala highway.
In early 2000, he purchased more buses, forming Kalita Bus Transporters, one of the leading bus companies in the western region and country.
Currently, the buses ply the Fort-Portal-Kamwenge, Kampala-Mubende-Fort-Portal-Kasese-Bwera, Fort-Portal-Bundibugyo, Kampala-Kabale-Kisoro and Kampala-Nairobi routes.
Harriet Kobwemi, a resident of Fort Portal, says that Lucky helped ease transport at a time when taxis used to charge high transport costs to Kampala.
She says that with the introduction of Kalita Bus Company, passengers could travel to Kampala at any time of the day and would reach safely.
Moses Mwirumubi says that through his bus company, Lucky offered employment to people from the Tooro region to work in his company, and some of them have been successful.
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Records at the Kalita Bus Company offices in Fort Portal indicate that there are 70 people directly employed by the bus company.
David Musinguzi, a driver who has worked for the bus company since its inception, says that he isn’t certain of his future after the death of his boss. Musinguzi says that since being employed by Lucky, he has managed to educate his children and constructed himself a four roomed house.
He hopes that the company doesn’t collapse and he loses his job, as it is with other companies, when the proprietor dies.
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Sande Gluepot, the chairperson of the business community in Fort Portal, says that Lucky offered business counsel to several people who wanted to engage in business.
Lucky has also been providing financial assistance to football clubs in Fort Portal, to get engaged in various competitions in and out of Kabarole district. He also started the Kalita Cup football tournament, involving local clubs in Fort Portal.
Prior to joining the transport sector, Lucky run a bakery in Fort Portal town and a grocery shop. In 1996, he joined the transport sector as a special hire driver and owned several minibuses which were plying the Fort Portal-Kampala highway, until 1999 when he purchased the first Kalita bus.
He studied at Rwabijuza Primary School in Nyabuharwa Sub County Kyejonjo district, Nnabagereka Primary School in Kampala and Kasese Primary School, where he completed Primary Seven.
He later joined Mpanga Secondary School in Fort Portal, where he completed his ‘O’ level.
His body is expected in Fort Portal on Thursday for prayers at St John’s Cathedral. He will be buried on Saturday in Muhangi village, Butiiti Sub County, Kyejonjo district.
He is survived by a widow, Loy Kaganda and six children.