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How sickness earned Kulayigye a wife

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th April 2012 04:20 PM

Col. Felix Kulayigye is the UPDF spokesman and his wife, Justine Bagonza, is the headmistress of St. Peter’s S.S, Nkokonjeru. The couple told SAMUEL LUTWAMA how their love grew from a simple gesture of friendship

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Col. Felix Kulayigye is the UPDF spokesman and his wife, Justine Bagonza, is the headmistress of St. Peter’s S.S, Nkokonjeru. The couple told SAMUEL LUTWAMA how their love grew from a simple gesture of friendship

Col. Felix Kulayigye is the UPDF spokesman and his wife, Justine Bagonza, is the headmistress of St. Peter’s S.S, Nkokonjeru. The couple told SAMUEL LUTWAMA how their love grew from a simple gesture of friendship

Justine pregnant, family demands to see Felix

Before we completed our course, Justine conceived when she was 24 years. Of course she was disappointed that she had con­ceived before marriage, but I tried to handle the matter in a calm and mature way. She went to teach at Iganga S.S as I went to the army.

But during that time, we hardly communicated. In her words, she thought that I would never come back to her and yet she had committed herself to me. As soon as I completed my course, I followed her up.

By then, her family was demanding to meet the man responsible for her pregnancy. It was dur­ing Justine’s graduation that I met her parents and they agreed to my proposal to be intro­duced to the family.


Fortunately, my parents were supportive and understanding throughout my pregnancy. They were happy that I had not had an abortion as many girls did. I told my parents that he had gone for further training without mentioning his course.

It was during preparations for my graduation party that my parents demanded to meet him. However, my graduation party was almost ruined when Felix surfaced.

My mother almost collapsed on learning that Felix was a soldier. Sadly for them, it was too late to change anything since I was expecting. I introduced him to the family in 1991 and we tied the knot in 1997 at St. Mary’s College, Kisubi chapel. At the time, I was teaching Literature in English at the school.


I was looking for an educated, respectful and beautiful lady. I am happy to be married to Justine because she has all the qualities.

One thing I am proud of is that I have lived to my childhood dream of being sexually committed to only my husband. But it all comes back to values I developed while growing up. alt=''

I decided that before I make a decision, I have to think and weigh the options before committing myself to anything. Even to­day at my workplace, I find many challenges as a married woman. Although some colleagues may know that you are married, they continue ‘exerting’ pressure on you.

Because of the nature of our work, we have been apart so many times, but never has it crossed in my mind to get someone for sexual satisfaction



Justine was my coursemate at Makerere University before she became my friend in 1987. However, consid­ering the circumstances that paved way for our relation­ship, I believe Justine and I were predestined to be hus­band and wife. One day, as I tried to locate a free seat in the lecture room, I saw one next to a very pretty lady.

I politely asked if I could take the seat, but she told me she had reserved it for a friend. However, she said I could use it in the meantime.  A few minutes into the lecture, my temperature rose and I could hardly take down notes.

She became concerned about my condition when I revealed to her that I had been diagnosed with Hepatitis B. Later that evening, we met again when I was returning from Wandegeya, loaded with avocado and fresh greens which I was to prepare for supper. She wondered how I would manage to do all the work, yet I had left the lecture room sick.

When I told her I had no option since there was no one to help me, she walked back to my hall with me and volunteered to prepare my food until my I got better.

Usually, lectures at the School of Education were filled to capacity and those who came in late hardly got seats. On that particular day, I sat infront front and reserved a seat for my friend.

When Felix approached me for the seat, I offered it, but told him that if the person I had reserved it for came, he would have to vacate. When the lectures began, I realised that he was not taking down notes. When I im­plored, he told me he was not well and I assured him I would lend him my notes.

Later in the day, he told me he had been diagnosed with Hepati­tis B. He gave me details of what medication he was expected to take. He told me that he was the newly-elected chairman of Living­stone Hall and I told him that I was a resident of Africa Hall.

In the subsequent days, he be­came so weak and it was apparent that he needed someone to help him. Strangely, I became so concerned about his sickness that I discussed it with my friends who knew him as a showy young man who was an argumentative braggart.

My friends and I accompanied him to the university sickbay where he was admitted for two weeks. During that time, I used a carbon paper to write duplicate notes for him. Interestingly, I had a friend who had a similar problem and she took a herb, Aloe Vera (Ekigajji). There was a botanical garden near Africa Hall, from where I picked Aloe Vera. I prepared it for him and in a few days, his condition improved and he was discharged.



Naively, I misinterpreted her gesture and concluded that perhaps she had a crush on me. But I was proved wrong when I tabled the subject of love. She told me she was just being courteous and threatened to walk out of my life, saying I was trying to cross the line. Her revelation shocked me.

She said she was a Born-again Christian who had maintained her sexual purity for her husband. Despite that, we remained good friends. Gradually, our friendship ad­vanced into intimacy. It was in August 1988 when she agreed to marry me.

The moment he was off his sick bed, he revealed his interest in me. I told him that I was not interested in relationships. I assured him that whatever I did for him was a gesture of Christian love.

He, however, assured me that he would wait for me to make up my mind. As that happened, some guys in our church who were interested in me started spreading gossip that I was in love with a non-believer who was likely to corrupt my spiritual integrity.

Some started isolating me, while oth­ers completely distanced themselves from me. During that time, Felix shared his aspiration, which almost shat­tered everything.



It was during that time that I shared my childhood dream of joining the army. She was not amused, but I explained to her that it was my dream. One day, she came to my room and found a military uniform. I told her that, one day, she would wash my uniform. She explained that her parents had a phobia for the military. In spite of that, she saw a potential husband in me and her heart was inclining towards my proposals.


One day, he dropped the bombshell when he shared his future aspiration of becoming a soldier. I told him it was worse than being a non-believer. I told him that my mother had lost her younger brother in the army and she had never healed from that pain. I told him that even if I accepted, my mother would not give me a go-ahead. Somehow, he convinced me that the decision was with me and not my mother.

After two years of dating, I accepted his proposal. One thing led to another and before long, he broke my virginity at 24 years. The first time I had sex with him was the time I conceived our first baby. Shortly after that, we both parted ways.

I went to teach at Iganga S.S while he pursued a military career. For quite some time, there was no communication and it worried me since I was expecting his baby.

Col. Felix Kulayigye comes across as a humble, yet articulate military officer, not only as a spokesman of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces, but also as a polished senior officer. He is the longest-serving military and defence spokesperson.

Kulayigye replaced Col. Shaban Bantariza on November 6, 2005. Bantariza had been nominat­ed for a course at the Senior Command Training College, Kimaka inJinja. Kulayigye had been Ban­tariza’s assistant, although he was less known.
He had served in various positions and sec­tions, including the Presidential Protection Unit, which later became Special Forces Group and is in charge of the President’s security.

He had served in DR Congo during the war that involved over five countries. From DR Congo, he was deployed in the north, under the operation iron fist. He says he came from fire and was taken into another fire, this time to fight the elusive rebel, Joseph Kony. He mixes well with both the public and the military.


How do they spice up their marriage?

When she agreed to be my wife, we for­mally set a family constitution of how to handle issues in our marriage. We both agreed to keep the lines of commu­nication open. Before we go to bed, whoever has an issue has to explain his or her position.

Secondly, who­ever is in wrong has to apologize and the other has to reciprocate when he or she wrongs the other. Simple words like ‘I am sorry’ have been our winning formula for the 24 years of marriage.

Because most of the time we are apart while on duty, when we meet, we try to make up for the lost time by maximizing our love. She is a good cook. I like talk­ing to my wife, sometimes we can chat up to the wee hours of the morning. Quite often, we hang out together.


Our marriage has taught me valuable life skills, particularly the value of trusting each other and ac­commodating each other’s weaknesses and cherish­ing the strength. The value of trusting one another was derived from the many times we have lived apart because of the nature of our work. You can imagine, a day after our wedding, my husband was deployed and we didn’t get time for our honeymoon.



My children are my greatest friends. When I am at home, I am more like a brother to them. We discuss anything and I always keep the communication chan­nels open. But most important, we have taught them domestic chores, without involving house-helps.

We have five children; Jancita Mbabazi, Che Frederick, Sankara Fidel, Mandela Felicity and Abangira Anne. All their names are embroiled with hidden meanings which are derived from revolutionary personalities who have influenced the world. The Christian names reflect God’s guidance and protection.

How sickness earned Kulayigye a wife

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