President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has applauded the First Lady, Janet Kataaha Museveni for exhibiting resilience and courage in raising their children despite his permanent absenteeism during the liberation struggle period.
The President, also the groom of the day, made the remarks yesterday during a luncheon at Irenga farm in Ntungamo district in commemoration of their golden jubilee anniversary. The colorful occasion was attended by family members and friends.
“You heard what the children were saying that Maama was tough with them and was able to bring them up for a number of years without my presence and I really salute her for that. So, her contribution to bringing up those children has no comparison because she did it when I was not there and the children did not even know that I would come back to their lives,” he said.
The President added: “Maama Janet was not only a mother but a mother of children with a permanently absentee husband. Therefore, when Maama Janet helped me to create a family, I was very grateful for her contribution.”
He further explained that before coming to power in 1986, he was living on account of opposing the bad regimes which were here and one would not imagine that he would be able to have a family and children but in spite of the instability, by God’s will, he was able to have both.
“One would imagine that we would not be able to have families and children. I separated from my people when Diana was eight months old. I never saw her again until six years later when I found her in Sweden. There was a lot of instability but within that, God was doing what we were not able to do by ourselves,” the President noted.
President Museveni also urged their guests at the luncheon to avoid shortcuts and need for a soft life by engaging in corruption assuring them that if they do God’s work, He will then do theirs.
He therefore cited that this is why he and other freedom fighters had no alternative but to oppose the bad regimes and yet they needed to have a normal life like other people.
“My daughter Natasha recently while doing her film, she asked me a question of why I would not give up the fight, I told her that if I had given up the fight, I would have died from giving up because I would have died internally. We call it ‘Okwegaya‘ meaning to despise oneself, to see things going bad and you keep quiet because you want an easy life,” he said.
President Museveni also said there is a need for people to understand that family is life and all the other things including wealth and professionalism among others are facilitations of life.
“Now here in our groups, we refer to marriage as ‘Okwombeka amaka ‘meaning you are just marrying a man and woman, but you are also making a home. It also means wife, children but also wealth creation. I want to thank God for my family, Maama Janet, for the children now that they have grown up and for the grandchildren,” he said.
The First Lady, Maama Janet said she was so grateful to God for enabling them to celebrate their 50th anniversary of marriage.
She disclosed that due to the instability in Uganda in the 1970s, they were forced to have a wedding from Turnham Green Church in England, a function that was attended by a few family members and close friends on the 24th of August, 1973.
“Our family was one of those families that were very vulnerable because of the political role that my husband played. You could say that his political role placed us as a family in the front row for any danger, hence our lives as a family were always at risk during those difficult and challenging times in our country’s history,” Maama Janet said.
She added: “God however in His Mercy and goodness protected us on both fronts and guided our footsteps until He brought us safely back to Uganda. That is not to say however that being in Uganda means one cannot die because since 1986, many of our colleagues and loved ones have passed on because of different circumstances.”
Mrs. Museveni therefore reasoned that it is right and befitting that they thank God because He truly has been gracious to them as a family and has also increased them in numbers by giving them four children and 15 grandchildren.
“The Lord has given us a blessing to see them while we can see them and all those gifts are not to be taken for granted,” she noted.