President Yoweri Museveni and his wife Janet Museveni have renewed their marriage vows, toasting to love and friendship at a colourful ceremony that saw the jovial couple also witness the baptism of their grandchildren.
The groom clad in a black suit and white shirt and the bride a crème trendy gown thanked God for the forty years in marriage saying this is a journey they started as two people but they are now a family of 23. The coupled renewed their commitment to love each other and asked for forgiveness where they wronged each other. There was laughter when the Bishop asked the groom to kiss his bride, and the president said kissing was un African.
The memorable event took place on Saturday at Nshwere Church of Uganda in Kiruhuura District and was attended by close family members, religious leaders, ministers, members of parliament, business fraternity and well wishers.
The occasion was preceded by a baptism ceremony of Ruhamya Kabuguma Kainerugaba, Kenshuro Nankunda Kainerugaba, Ihendu kainembabazi kainerugaba, children of Brigadier and Mrs Muhoozi Kainerugaba; Samuel Tandeka Karugire son of Edwin and Natasha Karugire; Mumutiine Rubanza Bicubirenga Rwabogo, Kendagaano Mwanganye Kebihembe Rwabogo, Judah Nyentsya Rutasingwa Eyokyeero Rwabogo children of Mr Odrek and Patience Rwabogo and Muhanganzima Kirunga Kamuntu, Nduhuura Rushongoka Kamuntu, Kakyama Museveni Rugasira Kamuntu children to Mr Geofrey and Diana Kamuntu.
The President and the bride commended the Church for the reforms they continue to embrace and urged it to preach against killing each other.
"Am glad you accepted to baptize my grandchildren with their indigenous names. I however want the Church to intervene and stop the continued bloodshed in the area over land conflicts because these are killings by Christians against fellow Christians which is un Godly,” he said. He also discouraged the shaking of hands as precaution to avoiding against Hemorrhagic fever.
They later hosted their guests to a grand luncheon at the family home in Rwakitura which was attended by senior government officials including the Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, the Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki and the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi among others.
Museveni hailed his wife Janet for being transparent and religious saying she prays regularly and constantly. He thanked God for blessing them with children and grandchildren who have been raised by his wife to be responsible and disciplined. He told their guests that he was an absentee husband and father since he was involved in the liberation struggle. He thanked God for keeping his family.
“The way God brought us together and enabled us to complement each other was indeed a miracle,” he said.
The President who gave an in-depth background to the liberation struggle revealed that he trained 28 fighters in Montez, Mozambique, but of those only four were alive today, including Generals Salim Saleh and Ivan Koreta who also attended the ceremony.
He said Obote and other young people squandered the chance to organise their country because they did not know God. He stressed that there was no need for another war.
He said that there are crucial issues in the society today including the fear of God, maintaining peace and creating wealth for the families.
The First Lady, Mrs. Janet Museveni thanked God for joining them and leading them through the 40 years of marriage, saying He never abandoned them through both the good and difficult times. She expressed confidence that they would move together in life, describing her husband as a kind person who loves his family and who has put his life on the line for the sake of his country.
The couple’s son Brig. Muhoozi Kainerigaba said that God gave his father courage (obumanzi) to fight for Uganda and liberate it. He said that God gave patience to his mother during the difficult moments.
The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali congratulated the couple for sustaining their marriage saying it is an excellent example to the rest of Ugandans especially at this time when the institution of marriage is under satanic attack and increased divorce rates.
"Sustaining marriage and being in love for all these years is not easy. Marriage is not a bed of roses, but is built on trust and forgiveness. The first family has set a wonderful example. All the other politicians and leaders should set out priorities and never forget their families" he said.
He said the couple’s actions will ignite a new wave of respect for marriage among Ugandans and sends a clear message to the rest of the world that Uganda is a Godly nation and a source of pride.
Rt. Rev. Ntagali cited poverty, hatred and homosexuality as the immediate challenges to the institution of marriage and urged legislators, police, leaders and politicians to join the church in the fight against the vice to protect families.
"We don't know who is behind this agenda and what they are up to. We maintain our position that marriage is between man and woman. We want to see our children marrying and getting grandchildren, therefore we must join forces to fight this evil" he said.