Inside Story

Inside Story: How the Museveni clan runs Ugandan government

Salim Saleh, also known as General Caleb Akandwanaho: He is President Museveni's younger brother. Saleh is a retired bush war hero with military and security clout.

Salim Saleh, also known as General Caleb Akandwanaho: He is President Museveni’s younger brother. Saleh is a retired bush war hero with military and security clout. Until last month’s cabinet reshuffle, he was Minister of State for Microfinance. He is now the president’s senior defense advisor.

Janet Kainembabazi Museveni is a Ugandan politician who has served as the country’s First Lady since 1986. She is married to President Yoweri Museveni, with whom she has four children. She wields considerable power among the NRM’s MPs in Parliament. She has recently emerged from the shadow cast by her husband. During the Temangalo land crisis, she demanded either the resignation of Security Minister Amama Mbabazi or the return of Ugx 11 billion that the Mbabazi gang had improperly obtained from NSSF coffers.

Janet Kataha Museveni
Janet Kataha Museveni

Maj. Bright Rwamirama is the State Minister for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry as well as the Isingiro North Member of Parliament. Rwamirama is Museveni’s cousin, and the two have had a history of feuding, particularly after Museveni imprisoned him in the early 1990s on charges of causing financial harm to the army. He was the finance controller for the NRA at the time, which was later renamed the UPDF. The two have since reconciled. Rwamirama is well-to-do and well-connected in the Isingiro district.

Shedrack Nzeire, Museveni’s stepbrother his currently working on youth mobilization at the State House, but his schedule is unknown. He ran for the Nyabushozi seat in the 2001 parliamentary elections and came close to losing to Mary Mugyenyi.

Miriam Karugaba is the president’s sister and an administrator at the State House.

President Museveni’s cousin, Faith Katana Mirembe, is also his assistant private secretary in charge of Education and Social Services.

Amelia Kyambadde serves as the president’s Principal Private Secretary (PPS). Sam Kutesa, the granddaughter of Maj. Murari Kafureka, a former airforce officer during Amin’s dictatorship, is linked to the president. Albert Muganga, her cousin (their mothers are sisters), married Kutesa’s daughter Ishta, the sister of Charlotte Kutesa, the bride of President Museveni’s son Muhoozi.

Amelia Kyambadde
Amelia Kyambadde

SERVICE IN THE MILITARY

Muhoozi Keinerugaba, the president’s eldest son, is the commander of the Presidential Guard Brigade’s Special Forces. He had to go through a series of accelerated promotions to get to his current level. His influence in the UPDF is undeniable, with commanders who support him rising to the top of the army in recent years.

Another one is Maj. Sabiiti Magyenyi who happens to be President Museveni’s cousin from the Mbarara district. He is currently in charge of the overall leadership of the Presidential Guard Brigade. Sabiiti is said to be part of a new generation of educated professionals who joined the army due to Muhoozi’s influence. He left a PhD program in biochemistry at a UK university to join the army.

Col. Kateera, Janet Museveni’s cousin, is now the 4th Division’s second in command in Gulu. Kateera previously worked in the finance department of the army. He also worked as an intelligence officer for the PGB (IO).

The State House Counter Intelligence Officer is Lt. Allan Matsiko. Amelia Kyambadde’s cousin Albert Muganga is his brother, and he is also the husband of Sam Kutesa’s daughter Ishta.


IN-LAWS WING

Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, a bush war hero and Rujumbura MP, is a Museveni in-law; his wife Susan is Janet Museveni’s cousin and serves as the Museveni daughters’ Senga (aunt). Muhwezi and Museveni publicly feuded over the GAVI and Global Funds funds.

Susan Muhwezi works as the presidential assistant for the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), a US government program that encourages African countries to enter US markets. She is also the wife of Maj. Gen. Muhwezi, a powerful and wealthy man. This concept is currently being considered at State House, but it has failed miserably.

Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi
Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi

The Ntungamo district chief is Janet Museveni’s cousin, John Wycliffe Karazaarwe. He has ruled this district since it was formed by combining Bushenyi and Mbarara in the early 1990s. Justus Karuhanga is Janet Museveni’s cousin. He works as President Museveni’s legal advisor. Hussein Kashillingi left State House last year after being charged with abuse of office, and this young man in his early thirties took his place.

Sam Kutesa: Currently the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kutesa is President Museveni’s in-law and the president’s son Muhoozi’s father-in-law. Janet Museveni was his late wife Jennifer’s cousin.

Brig. Henry Tumukunde: Until recently, Tumukunde had all the trappings of family rule. Stella Tumukunde, Janet Museveni’s cousin, is his wife. Despite the fact that Tumukunde is no longer speaking with his former boss, experts believe he is undergoing rehabilitation and will eventually recover. He previously served as the head of the Internal Security Organization (ISO) and the Military Intelligence Chieftaincy (CMI).

Brig. Henry Tumukunde
Brig. Henry Tumukunde

Janet Museveni’s cousin is Elly Rwakakooko. Rwakakooko served as the managing director of Uganda Commercial Bank, which was later sold to Stanbic Bank, as well as the commissioner-general of the Uganda Revenue Authority. He was also the chairman of UCB. However, because he currently holds no governmental office, he appears to be unpopular with the first family.

The president’s all-powerful political affairs assistant is Moses Byaruhanga. His wife is Janet Museveni’s cousin. Byaruhanga is more than just a presidential aide in this administration. Vice President Prof. Gilbert Bukenya once admitted that Byaruhanga had shaped him into the man he is today, and that Byaruhanga was to blame for all of his political fortunes. Most people seeking political office in the President’s Office or the State House must first gain the approval of Byaruhanga.

Janet Museveni’s cousin, Hope Nyakairu, is the State House’s undersecretary for finance and administration. She controls the budget, and some in the State House believe she wields more power than Comptroller Richard Muhinda.

Janet’s cousin and the Cotton Development Authority’s long-serving managing director is Jolly Sabune. The cotton industry has collapsed under her watch. She is virtually inaccessible to the general public, refuses to give media interviews, and makes no apologies for it.

Natasha Museveni Karugire is President Museveni’s eldest daughter and works as a presidential assistant in charge of home at State House in Entebbe.

Edwin Karugire with his wife Natasha
Edwin Karugire with his wife Natasha

Dr. Violet Kajubiri’s son, Dr. Joseph Ekwau, is a presidential advisor on veterinary matters and Museveni’s sister.

Alice Kaboyo is an author. She worked in the President’s Office as a presidential assistant in charge of children until recently, when she was implicated in the Global Fund money scam. Her cousin is Janet Museveni.

Richard Kabonero Bob Kabonero, the owner of the Kampala Casino,  is Janet Museveni’s cousin and Uganda’s ambassador to Rwanda at the moment.

Jimmy Karugaba is the president’s brother-in-law and the president’s sister Miriam Karugaba’s husband. He is the officer-in-charge (OC) of the accounts department at State House.


IN THE LABORATORY

Natasha, Museveni’s eldest daughter, is married to Edwin Karugire. He works as a real estate agent and also manages several government contracts. In 2006, he was a member of the private legal team hired by the State to prosecute FDC president Dr. Kizza Besigye in the PRA treason case. He also oversaw the sale of assets from the defunct Uganda Railways Corporation. The Karugire team was compensated Ugx 2.5 billion.

Patience, Museveni’s second daughter, is married to Odrek Rwabwogo. While he holds no official government position, his public relations firm, Terp Consult, has won a number of significant government contracts, the most notable of which is the $1 million Euro CNN marketing campaign “Gifted By Nature.” He was also given the communication and publicity contract for the 2007 CHOGM, which he worked on with the Saatchi & Saatchi firm. Patience, his wife, is the pastor of Covenant of Apostles of God, a prestigious Pentecostal church in Kampala.

Geoffrey Kamuntu: Museveni’s son-in-law (married to the president’s third daughter Diana) owns a procurement firm that provides consulting services to oil explorers in the Albertine region. He is said to be a major shareholder in Heritage Oil Company, an oil exploration firm in the region. He also benefited from the Butabika Hospital land grab (giveaways).

Bob Kabonero, Janet Museveni’s cousin, owns the Kampala Casino. Bob owns a number of businesses across the country. He recently obtained exclusive rights to import dry cell Tiger batteries from China, effectively ruling out any other Ugandan importer. Traders were about to go on strike over the transaction.

Hannington Karuhanga is the chairman of UGACOF, a major coffee exporter, and a Stanbic Bank director. His cousin is Janet Museveni.

Don Nyakairu is the corporate secretary of Uganda Telecoms Ltd and is married to Janet Museveni’s cousin Hope Nyakairu, the under-secretary for finance and administration at State House.

Albert Muganga: He is related to the president’s family through marriage. He and the president’s son, Muhoozi, marry sisters (Ishta and Charlotte) of Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa. Their mother, Jennifer Kutesa, was related to First Lady Janet Museveni. He works in the import/export business, and in 2008, his company, Kenlloyds Logistics, was awarded exclusive management rights to the country’s oil deposits in Jinja. The deal was canceled due to concerns raised by major oil companies such as Shell, Caltex, and TOTAL.

Jovia Saleh is a wealthy businesswoman who is married to Museveni’s younger brother, Gen. Salim Saleh. She works in real estate as well as other fields. In the UN Congo Report, a panel of experts studying the exploitation of DR Congo resources identified her.

Jovia Saleh’s younger sister, and thus Gen. Saleh’s sister-in-law, is Kellen Kayonga. She is a successful businesswoman who recently received a lucrative contract from the security firm Askar to export security personnel to Iraq’s volatile country. Many of her employees have criticized her contract, claiming that her company takes the lion’s share of their pay and only pays them in installments at the end of each month.

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