President Yoweri Museveni has described as a ‘rock’, the role first lady and Minister of Education, Janet Kataaha Museveni has played in the first family.
This was part of President Museveni’s message to the wife and first lady who turned 72 years of age, on June 24.
The President said, “On Maama @JanetMuseveni ‘s birthday this 24th of June, I would like to congratulate her. I thank her for being a rock to our family and mother to our larger family of Uganda.
May God continue to bless and keep her.”
While some might shrug off a birthday as a celebration for children, President Museveni does not.
The President has consistently sent a birthday message or two to the first lady every year through his verified Twitter handle.
Other people who sent in their regards, included the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development Frank Tumwebaze who thanked Janet for “always standing in the gap” for the nation.
He said, “Happy birth day Mama @JanetMuseveni . Thank you always for standing in the gap to intercede for our nation. May God continue to shower u with blessings of good heath & long life. You have been a strong pillar for Mzee in all his pro-people struggles. May you have many more!”
The Musevenis’, who had known each other since childhood, got married in August 1973 in what President Museveni has since described as a “scientific marriage.” The wedding occurred at a tumultuous time in President Museveni’s life as he began a life of struggle to “overthrow dictatorship.”
This struggle, first against then sitting President Idi Amin’s 1971-1979 rule and later with his successor and Museveni’s former boss Dr Apolo Milton Obote 1980-1985. Museveni would finally come to power with the National Resistance Army (NRA) in January 1986.
The Museveni marriage has produced four children: Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Natasha Karugire, Patience Rwabwogo and Diana Kamuntu.
While celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in August 2013, Museveni credited Janet with raising their children well as he participated in the struggle to liberate Uganda. He spoke movingly of the struggle she had to endure as a refugee and wife to a wanted man in Kenya, and later Europe where they sought sanctuary.
Janet Museveni established herself as a public figure leading the fight against the HIV scourge in the 1990s by founding UWESO (Uganda Women’s Effort To Save Orphans). She also been a Member of Parliament for Ruhaama county in Ntungamo district. She has served as a minister for Karamoja affairs and is presently Uganda’s education and sports minister.
She authored her autobiography My Life’s Journey in 2011.