Uganda’s First Lady Janet Kataaha Museveni has spoken out on her rumoured 2021 presidentila bid, but was too careful to deny interest in the position her husband has held for over three decades, nor declare her bid.
Janet Museveni told NTV in an interview at State House Nakasero in Kampala that she would wait for divine direction before seeking election to become Uganda’s first female president.
“I will wait on the Lord when what he tells me is what I will do. I have trained myself to wait and listen to the Lord. Save that for when we get to that period,” the first lady said.
She added that politics was a service to God: “I don’t regret being in politics because I’m in service to God.”
She added: “I never thought I would find myself in politics. I used to thank God for that because I believed I wasn’t cut out for it but here I am.”
It is not the first time the first lady will be consulting God for direction on her next political move. In May 2015, she announced that she would not stand for reelection as MP for Ruhaama County in Ntungamo district again, saying: “I have sought God’s guidance and assurance about it. Therefore I now have no doubt at all in my mind that this is what God intended for me in this season…”
Janet had represented Ruhaama for two terms from 2006 to 2016. She has also served as minister for Karamoja Affairs and is the current education minister.
She also defended the first family, criticised by some as being selfish.
“Our family has been misunderstood for many things. We have served with dedication and sincerity. We don’t think about ourselves first.”
On the much-rumoured about Muhoozi project, an idea advanced by former spy chief Gen David Sejusa who in 2013 claimed that Museveni was grooming first son Muhoozi Kainerugaba to succeed him, Janet said: “A mother doesn’t speak for a man. You can speak to Muhoozi himself. I cannot speak for him.”
Muhoozi in recent interview denied harbouring presidential ambitions or being groomed to succeed his father.
The succession debate continues as Museveni will not be eligible for reelection if the constitution is not altered to scrap age limits. The country’s supreme law bars anyone who is 75 years and above to stand for the nation’s top office.
FULL TRANSCRIPT ON POLITICS
As first Lady there’s been a lot of talk around you ever going back into elective politics. Would you consider or would you give it a thought especially for the highest office in the Land?
Why don’t you save that until we get back into that period. We are so far away from there. Let’s wait.
Well, we prepare before we get there….
I’m not prepared yet. (…chuckles)
So, you would give it a thought?
I would rather we discuss that at a later date.
By not commenting about it, you’re actually considering it.
I want to tell you something about being obedient to God. It also trains you to speak at the right time when you hear from God and when you know what God really requires of you at a particular time. You don’t assume that you can do anything you want or you can’t do what you want but you wait on the Lord and do what he tells you, you do when he tells you and I have trained myself to listen to God. So, I try as much as possible to wait on the Lord what he tells me is what I do. Last time people were surprised that I wasn’t’t standing again because people don’t do that a lot but I heard from God and I got out of Parliament and I am here also because I am in service to God whether Ugandans believe it or not that’s what I am doing.
The first time God talked to you, you joined joined politics so perhaps he may talk to you again and you go back into Politics…
Please don’t try to talk for God and don’t try to read his mind.
We will later get back into a highly politically charged period where President Yoweri Museveni will clock the required age in the Constitution beyond which he can’t contest again in 2021. As a First Lady, how would you advise him to go around that.
That’s a very difficult question. There are some things that have to remain private no matter how public you are.
There’s been a lot of talk around your son Maj. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba about the so called “Muhoozi Project” (where it is alleged that he’s being groomed by President Yoweri Museveni to succeed him). Have you heard about that?
I have heard about that but you know Muhoozi is also an adult and I wish you could talk to him directly because he lives right here.You can talk to him yourself.
But I’m talking to you as the mother.
But you see, a mother speaks for a son until he is probably 15 years old. After that, that is a man and a mother doesn’t’t speak for a man.
At least you still advise him, would you advise him to join elective politics especially seeing that you have been their yourself?.
I don’t think I want to go there.. (chuckles) I think you have to agree that really our family has been misunderstood for many things. Our family is a family just like yours and I believe that we have served this country with sincerity, we’ve made lots of sacrifices and we are people who don’t just think about ourselves first and its painful when you see what some decide to say but we do our best and we pray God does the rest. People who understand us do and those who don’t no matter how we explain will not understand us so trying to explain and to labour to explain sometimes doesn’t’t really help. so we say what we can, we say what we ought to say and we let it stop there.
Do you then regret joining Politics?
I don’t because I know I’m there in service to God. Have you read the Bible? Do you know some stories of people who God sent and they prayed and asked him to look for other people and he wouldn’t and he still sent them and they suffer so much but they go because they love God and they obey him. That’s how I find myself here. And I can’t disobey God no matter what it costs me with the people because I fear God and my life depends on him.
What is that one thing you want to be remembered for when you’re finally out of Politics or out of the office of the First Lady?
The mother I was to my children and to those who trusted me as a mother because there are many who are not my biological children but who became my children.
INTERVIEW & TRANSCRIPT/NTV