The Sapoba Legacy

The Sapoba Legacy

Technical details

Full title The Sapoba Legacy: A story of Ideals and Idealism in Ugandan Politics and Family Life
Authors Kirunda Kivejinja, Bidandi Ssali, and Kintu Musoke
Editors Minah Nabirye, Patrick Hanks, and Gilles-Maurice de Schryver
Additional contributors Ali Balunywa, Juma Waiswa Balunywa, Umar Kakonge, Jane ‘Akiiki’ Kasambu, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibbeedi, Charles Kibwika, Naome Kyeyune, Joseph Musoke, Minah Nabirye, Deborah Nakafeero Wavamunno, Mina Nakawuka, Suzaana Kiganda Nampinga, Charles Onyango Obbo, Lydia Ochieng Obbo, Tony Geoffrey Owana, and Hassan Badru Zziwa
Release date 1 January 2014
Size 245 x 170 mm
Pages 348 pp.
Binding Hardback
Weight 1kg 50g
ISBN 978-9970-101-03-0
Price 49.95 EUR


This book is a story of the triumph of idealism over adversity. It recounts, in their own words and the words of their family and associates, the history of three Ugandans who in the 1950–60s forged an unbreakable bond as student leaders in the Indian Subcontinent and went on to become political leaders in Uganda. The three men are Kirunda Kivejinja, Bidandi Ssali, and Kintu Musoke, known collectively in Uganda as ‘The Troika’ or ‘The Trio.’ They are very different characters—an activist, a pacifist, and a skilful political operator.

Being outspoken believers in socialist ideals, proponents of an open society, and critics of corruption, it was not long after Ugandan independence in 1962 before they made enemies and were chased out of the ruling party. In danger of their lives under the two repressive governments of Milton Obote, which sandwiched the even more murderous regime of Idi Amin Dada, they retreated from politics and set up a printing press—the Sapoba Bookshop Press—which they ran as a successful business in Uganda’s emergent capitalist society. Unlike most businesses in a capitalist society, it was run as a ‘worker’s commonwealth.’

In addition, the Sapoba Bookshop Press had a high school attached to it, in which the Troika functioned as part-time teachers and administrators. This was because the Sapoba Family grew and grew. Along the way, each member of the Troika got married and fathered children. In accordance with principles they had agreed among themselves, they did not distinguish three different families, but instead established a single family with three fathers. Members of the family—wives and children—explain how this worked. In addition to their own children, the Troika and their wives took in waifs and strays, including the children of parents who had died or been murdered. All in all, over 500 children passed through the Sapoba Family.

In 1986, after many vicissitudes, all three of the Troika re-entered politics. Since then, as ministers in President Yoweri Museveni’s government and subsequently as presidential advisers, they have made a massive contribution to the development of Uganda’s comparatively open society, in health care, education, local government, and many other fields.


This is a book that everyone interested in social structure and political ideals, political philosophy, alternative business management, the history of post-colonial Africa, and basic human decency will want to read.


The text is illustrated with 150 pictures, many in colour and the majority never before published. A detailed 20-page index concludes the book.