Heart to Heart

Amama: Faithfulness is the best reward I could give her

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Amama Mbabazi and his wife Jacqueline enjoy a meal at their home in Kololo.

Amama Mbabazi and his wife Jacqueline enjoy a meal at their home in Kololo. 

By Sarah Tumwebaze

Posted  Thursday, March 20   2014 at  02:00

In Summary

Love and politics. When you see him wearing that uptight look while talking about national issues, you might think that is the only side there is to Amama Mbabazi. Not until you step into the Prime Minister’s compound while he’s home with his wife Jacqueline. Sarah Tumwebaze managed to catch up with the couple during a family luncheon at their home in Kololo and it was down memory lane for the duo.

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How did you meet?
Amama: When we met, she was still in secondary school. But I knew her family. Her brother was my friend and it is one of her relatives who introduced us.

Was it love at first sight?
Amama: I do not know what love at first sight is. If it’s determined by beauty, then I would be in love with very many women because there are very many beautiful women. But my wife is a lovely woman. Though what I know is that she was in love with me for years before I approached her.
Jacqueline: It’s not true that I had been in love with him for years. I also do not know if it was love at first sight in his case because I was not with him when he was falling in love with me. But I fell in love with him immediately. I, however, did not say yes immediately because back then there were a lot of inductions, so girls would not just get excited.

How long was your courtship?
Amama: She knew me more than I knew her because I was an active actor in school. But I think it was more than a year.

How did you propose to her?
Amama: Some of these things I do not say because I am planning to write a book this year.

When did you get married?
Amama: Exactly 40 years ago. We celebrated 40 years on January 4, 2014.

Did you do anything special?
Amama: No we did not because we had a function for Mama Mbiire’s birthday.

What sort of wedding did you have?
Jacqueline: We had a civil wedding because we could not afford a church wedding. To us, a church wedding was expensive; you had to invite people, buy clothes and other things. So, being students, we could not afford it. A civil wedding was only 10 minutes and very simple, so it did not bother us at all. We swore with a Bible and our marriage is recognised by the State.

How many children do you have?
Amama: We have six children, we adopted one child but there are others whom I have adopted, although they do not carry my name. They know their parents. I took them up when they were still young and they call me daddy. So in total, I have 11 children.

Why do you always introduce your wife at functions?
Amama: My wife is my wife, so I should go with her everywhere. When we were getting married, they told us that we are one. Secondly, I am a liberated man so I give my wife and daughters their due place.

What has kept the two of you together?
Jacqueline: Friendship. We are good friends.

Have you ever argued?
Jacqueline: Of course we argue a few times, somebody gets annoyed, we make up and then life goes on. Our arguments are not terrible.
Who gives up first in case of an argument?
Jacqueline: He does.
Amama: She always wins because in an argument, someone has to win and in our case, she is always the winner. For instance, the paint on our house, we argued about it but she insisted, so we went with her colours.
Jacqueline: He lets me win because he is a gentleman.

Who is the closest person you go to incase of an argument?
Jacqueline: We have never had such a situation where we fail to settle our differences.
Amama: We have never had such a thing. Arguments are talking about something and you do not have the same opinion but since someone has to give up, I always give up.

What are some of the small things you do that the other person does not like?
Jacqueline: I blow my nose nicely with a handkerchief but he finds this annoying. The thing that annoyed me about him first was that he could not even boil water. I think it is because of the Kikiga culture.

Why do you think there are so many marriage breakups nowadays?
Jacqueline: Young people getting married nowadays are very materialistic. I also think the women take the equality issue too far because equality does not mean a man goes to the kitchen to cook. They are also intolerant and impatient yet marriage requires tonnes of this and love. They also do not know that love is not constant - it requires that you be innovative throughout. That is what I have done throughout these 40 years.

What is a man’s/woman’s role in marriage?
Amama: The two of you are supposed to share responsibilities. For instance, she cooks food and I help her out, since now I can boil water. But when it comes to carrying heavy things, I do it.

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