Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The story of Amelia Kyambadde

Radio Katwe brings you the story of the powerful Principal Private Secretary to the President, Mrs. Amelia Kulubya Kyambadde.

Being so close and personal with him for nearly 30 years now, she is one of the few people who could if she wanted, write an authoritative biography of Musevenis rule.

According to the modest database that we have pieced together plus the contributions from some of our readers, Amelia Kyambadde was born into a well-to-do Baganda family sometime in the late 1950s.

She is the eldest child of the late Serwano-Kulubya of Kulubya and Company Advocates, a law firm. Her father was a well-connected and influential person in the 1960s UPC government.

According to this information, Amelia's mother is related to Museveni's mother and that is where the "Hima" connection comes in. (With Museveni the confessing "non-sectarian", blood relations seem to be the rule rather than exception.)

Amelia's mother now lives in Sweden where she is a naturalized Swede.

Amelia Kulubya attended Nakasero Primary School in Kampala in the 1960s. At that time, it was an elite school for Europeans and only privileged elite Ugandans went to that school.

Amelia used to tell her friends at Nakasero that she had ever been to Europe, which given the times then, we can take as further evidence of her prominent background.

She then went on to Sacred Heart Girls' Secondary School in Gulu from 1969 to 1971. She did her O'Level exams and passed well but did not for some reason want to go back there for her A'Levels.

Some of the classmates of Amelia Kulubya were Jennifer Kalimuzo, Florence Kikira, Joy Kanyike, and many more who were a year ahead of Amelia Kulubya.

A former schoolmate of hers told Radio Katwe that Amelia Kulubya "spoke very good English and that was her highest score in O' Level exams" While in Sacred Heart "she had everything a young girl could want."

This former schoolmate (who seems to be have known Amelia in Gulu) told Radio Katwe that Amelia was quiet at school, "friendly to most girls, she did not have the contempt some Southerners showed towards the Northerners."

It is something to note that these people from Northern Uganda who have faced a bitter and hellish 20 years of the Museveni rule have this view of Amelia. In the many comments we recieved, they spoke well of her. The bitter resentment sometimes (understandably) shown any westerner or "Southerner" close to Museveni for abandoning them to the dogs these past two decades is remarkably absent.

She was attractive and many soldiers liked her. One story goes that while at Sacred Heart Girls', she used to arrive in Gulu in a family chauffer-driven car around a week before school opened for the term and spend time with soldiers in their Officers' Mess in town.

But Amelia one of those rare NRM Bantu who is as much liked by the southerners as the northerners.

Somewhere in the mid 1970s, Amelia Kulubya got married to Wilson Kyambadde.

After the fall of Idi Amin in 1979, Amelia worked as a personal secretary to the new Defence Minister, Yoweri Museveni.

When President Godfrey Binaisa transferred Museveni to become the Minister of Regional Cooperation, the man who does not respect institutions somehow moved Amelia with him there to work under him.

And Amelia's apparent partiality for soldiers since school at Sacred Heart had not expired because according to impeccable sources, during that time in 1979 or 1980, Amelia got pregnant with a child by Museveni.

Among her children are Peter, Ivan, Ishta, Kenny, Amber and Mike. One of her children (Amber?) today is actually a child of Museveni.

When her boss went to the bush in 1981 to launch his "fundamental change" rebel war, Amelia fled to exile in 1983 and stayed with her children in Gottenborg, Sweden, in some lower middle class flats not far from where the Museveni family was also staying.

When the "fundamental change" that 20 years on has left Kampala in darkness began in 1986, Amelia resumed her job of working under Museveni.

What Radio Katwe is not sure about is when Janet Museveni first came to know the full significance of her husbands "working" position in relation to Amelia. It seems that was recent, when Amelia had to flee to London for a brief "vacation" until Janets wrath came under some control.

In 1994 or 1995 when Natasha Museveni was sent to London to study fashion (what a waste of tax payers' money, when you look at the poor quality of dresses produced by the now, thankfully, defunct House of Kaine!), State House was worried that Natasha would be lonely.

So the state arranged for scholarships for Amelia's daughter, Ishta Kyambadde and Josephine Wapakhabulo, a daughter of the late NRM heavyweight James Wapakhabulo, to go and study in the UK but some speculate that one of the intended side-benefits of these two was to keep Natasha company.

In 1996, Amelia went to Makerere University to do a Bachelors in Business Administration. One contributor to Radio Katwe claims that in 1998 during her third year "she had as many as 24 retakes." Whereas anything is possible, one wonders at the credibility of that abnormally high number of retakes.

As PPS to the President, Amelia is tough toward the staff around Museveni. Reports from State House say that Amelia has on ocassion treated people like Presidential Press Secretary Onapito Ekomoloit and Media Centre Director Robert Kabushenga like small children, shouting at them in front of their colleagues.

So that is Amelia for you. By all accounts professional and a generally nice person. A rare thing to say about anyone so close to Museveni.
O how one wishes some of her would have rubbed off on her boss of all these years...!

2 Comments:

Blogger kyeyune said...

u need to first get clear data about such public figures before really publishing what you are not sure of. kyeyune crispus remains my name.

1:32 AM  
Blogger kyeyune said...

u need to first get clear data about such public figures before really publishing what you are not sure of.
kyeyune crispus.

1:34 AM  

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