Francis Xavier Kitaka, the founder and chairman of both Copper Uganda Ltd and MTK Uganda Ltd, is dead.
He was 85.
His longtime friend and business partner Emmanuel Katongole said in a statement on Saturday that Kitaka, a biochemist, veterinarian, entrepreneur and industrialist. passed on today Saturday 12th September 2020 at 10:40am.”
Kitaka was Chairman Emeritus of both Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Ltd and Quality Chemicals Ltd.
“As we mourn his passing, we will be celebrating his life and selfless contribution to our Company, Country and Humanity at large,” said Katongole in a statement.
“Indeed, his work has had a tremendous impact and changed many people’s lives. He will be greatly missed.”
Kitaka attended Rubaga Primary School, starting in 1944. 1948 Kitaka was admitted to Bukalasa Minor Seminary, but was expelled in 1950, for wearing bathroom sandals to Church.
The following year, 1951, he was admitted to Rubaga Boys’ Secondary School, where he sat his middle school examinations in 1952.
He entered St. Mary’s College Kisubi in 1952 and left in 1954 after sitting his O Level examinations (Cambridge Ordinary School Certificate Examinations).
In 1955, he was admitted to the Faculty of Science at Makerere University for the intermediate course for two years. This was equivalent to Advanced Level (A Level) studies. In 1957 Kitaka entered the Department of Veterinary Medicine, to study for the Diploma in Veterinary Medicine, which he obtained in 1958. In 1961 he received a scholarship from the Government of Uganda to study Biochemistry at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. After graduation, Kitaka became the first African biochemist in East Africa.
In 1961, prior to his departure for Scotland for further studies, he worked at the Animal Health Research Centre in Entebbe. While in Scotland, he worked at Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen for eight years, before returning to Uganda in 1968.
Upon his return, he worked at the Tick Control Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, as an Entomologist. In 1972, Francis Kitaka joined Wellcome Uganda Limited, as the Sales Manager.
In 1989, Kitaka and two colleagues, Edward Martin and Randall Tierney, bought Wellcome East Africa Limited and renamed it Cooper Uganda Limited. In 1994, they bought the building housing their offices and rebranded to MTK Holdings Limited, representing the first letter of each of their last names.
In 1997, with three more investors; George Baguma, Kitaka and Katongole, the group of six investors created Quality Chemicals Limited (QCL), a company whose initial objective was to import generic drugs, both veterinary and human into the country.
In 2003, the shareholders in QCL learned through the Indian High Commissioner to Uganda, that Cipla, the Indian pharmaceutical company was looking for a serious pharmaceutical company to partner with in Uganda. They flew to India and signed partnership and marketing agreements.
That was the beginning of the importation of Cipla-manufactured pharmaceuticals into Uganda.
They convinced Cipla to build a factory to manufacture ARVs in Uganda. QCL bought a piece of land in 2004 and on 3 September 2005, President Yoweri Museveni performed the ground breaking ceremony. The factory was commissioned in 2007.
Kitaka served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of QCIL from 2007 until November 2013.
In 2013, Cipla acquired majority shareholding in QCIL, and changed the name of the company to CIPLAQCIL.
At that time the Chairmanship changed to Emmanuel Katongole.
Kitaka remained a shareholder in the business.