President Museveni Salutes Former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Wife for their Contribution in Reorienting Uganda

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has commended former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. John Patrick Amama Mbabazi and his wife Mrs. Jacqueline Mbabazi for their contribution towards the reorientation of Uganda which had lost direction before the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government came into power. 

“I congratulate Rt Hon. Mbabazi and Jacqueline; first and foremost for being with us in the struggle of reorienting Uganda from the wrong direction to the correct direction,” he said. 

The President who was in company of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Kataha Museveni, made the remarks on Saturday 6th April, 2024 as Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi and Mrs. Jacqueline celebrated their 50th marriage anniversary at Serena Hotel, Kampala. 

President Museveni also congratulated the couple for building up a family in the context of instability of the resistance struggle and being able to stay together for 50 years.

“When you are a freedom fighter, you are more than a priest because you are committed but you are committed to something dangerous and disruptive so we must praise God to see that we the freedom fighters were able to also have families,” he said. 

“Those of us who did not die, we managed to have families in addition to the fighting which was very intense. Therefore, I want to congratulate Rt Hon. Mbabazi and Jacqueline for building up a family, having children and now grandchildren.”

President Museveni and Maama Janet also gave Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi and his wife, 20 Friesian cows as a gift for achieving the milestone. 

On the other hand, President Museveni narrated to the guests how he met Rt. Hon. Mbabazi during his political struggle in the 1970s and how he helped him rebuild his elite network which had been disrupted due to the mistake made by their allies of Uganda People’s Congress (UPC). 

“In 1974, while in Nairobi there was a boy who was actually not highly political, but he was with us at Ntare. This boy was called Kazhungu and he is the one who told me about Amama Mbabazi that he was active in politics during his university days at Makerere. He also told me about Kahinda Otafiire,” the President recalled. 

“After some time, I again met Kazhungu who told me that he met them, and they had agreed to come and talk to me. He brought Mbabazi first and that is how we linked up with the group of Mbabazi and Otafiire. They were able to revive what Dr. Rugunda was saying. They were here all the time from 1974 up to the time we captured Kampala and that is why we must salute them because they were very vulnerable, but they were about to operate. I want to thank these comrades Amama Mbabazi and Kahinda Otafiire for helping us to revive the elite part of our network which had been disrupted by the bad plans of our partners the UPC. I also want to thank Jacqueline for keeping quiet whether she liked it or not, she never let us down or betrayed us,” he added. 

President Museveni further revealed that Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi and Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire helped him to recruit part of the 28 original fighters of FRONASA who were trained in Mozambique. 

 “You cannot talk about Mbabazi, and you don’t talk about Uganda and these comrades like the Rugundas and also those who died represent the line of saving Uganda. I salute these comrades for sticking to the four core principles of the NRM and that is why Uganda has come up. I want the young generation to really take it up and consolidate these principles.”

Furthermore, President Museveni assured Rt. Hon. Mbabazi that he cannot forget the contributions he made towards the transformation of the country despite some of the differences they have had in the past. 

“Yes, I can disagree with you but I cannot forget the contribution you made in the past or you will make tomorrow. Even Kategaya, we had differences at one point but afterwards, I asked him, “Do you still support East African Integration?” He said yes, I told him to come and become the Minister of East African Community Affairs. I’m not bothered about differences because I’m sure of what I’m doing. What is crucial is what Africa needs,” he assured. 

On his part, Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi said his relationship with Mrs. Jacqueline came at a difficult time of struggle in 1974 and their union was not just a contract of matrimony but a pact of survival and resistance. 

“A young man heavily involved in the armed struggle against the dictator Idi Amin found something worth fighting for, something beyond the immediate call of duty called love. In those dark days, many of my comrades including Ruhakana Rugunda and Tumusiime Mutebile were forced into exile, I remained behind where every day could have been my last. In the face of such adversity, a decision to leave behind a legacy was made. It was during this uncertainty and halloween of chaos that I met Jacqueline,” Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi said. 

“In her I saw a companion for life, someone who could shoulder the burdens of our struggle and nurture a family. It was this unwavering strength and indomitable spirit that drew me to her and together we embarked on a journey, a journey that has weathered storms.”

Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi also thanked President Museveni for supporting and always standing by him. 

“To Mr. President, your support has been invaluable, and it stands as a testament of the spirit of unity and solidarity that defines our nation,” he said. 

The former Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda also congratulated Rt. Hon. Mbabazi and his wife for reaching the milestone and thanked them for being dependable and reliable friends. 

“I also want to thank President Museveni for knowing the strong points of Ndugu Amama. You remember the other day, Ndugu Amama was Attorney General, a job he did very well but had two or three other Ministries and remember the name Super Minister, I think Ndugu Amama this was really a recognition of your capacity and ability to be able to perform well in the responsibilities that you are given,” Dr. Rugunda said. 

“I’m also happy that Ndugu Amama is now carrying out responsibilities especially on the African and global scene on behalf of our country again handed to him by President Museveni because he knows his capacity and ability to be able to effectively address those issues.”

Mrs. Jacqueline Mbabazi thanked God for enabling them to celebrate their 50 years of marriage. 

“This day is not a minor achievement, and we owe it to God. I also want to thank all of you, our friends, family and the Church who have supported us throughout this journey. It has not been a very easy journey but most of the time, it has been pleasant. I thank you Amama for accepting to live with me for 50 years with all my perfect imperfections,” she said.