If I told you Janet Museveni was the first lady of an African nation, could you name which one? Until last week, me neither. But now that I have met this talented woman in the pages of her memoir, I know that Uganda is blessed to have her as its first lady, wife of President Yoweri Museveni.
She is currently also serving as MP for Ruhaana County and Minster of State for Karamoja. This mother of four, grandmother of twelve has had a challenging life. In My Life’s Journey she tells her story beginning with her early years in rural Uganda.
After a year of college in Wales she returns to a country that is falling into chaos under the terror of Idi Amin. When some of her family members oppose him, they become a hunted lot. During her years in African exile (spent in Tanzania and other countries) she meets her husband. When she asks him what his occupation is, he says, “Fighting Idi Amin.” It turns out that fighting for Africa’s political well-being becomes the passion of his life.
Amin is eventually routed but since Yoweri Museveni is a rival of returned President Obote, the family is soon on the run again with Janet and her four children spending years exiled in Sweden before Yoweri becomes president and the family is reunited in a Uganda that is in shambles after years of civil war.
To add to the inspiration of Janet Museveni’s story as a tale of political overcoming is its spiritual aspect. After she decides to put her faith in Christ as Saviour her life takes on a different cast. She speaks openly about her practice of starting each day with prayer and Bible reading and how her faith influences the way she raises her children.
When she feels that God would have her enter politics, her faith is tested as she comes against the expectation that she will campaign using traditional means of bribery and buying votes with gifts and alcohol. She resists but wins her seat anyway.
Her motherly heart, listening ear, habit of close observation, and administrative common sense has made her a successful leader with numerous completed roads, schools, and hospitals on her list of accomplishments. In her time as leader she has asked God many questions including why Africa is so often at the bottom of the world’s nations. The answer she has arrived at contains wisdom that leaders of all nations—mine included—would do well to heed:
“This scripture (referring to Acts 17:26,28) simply put says that ‘the fault is not in our stars’ so to speak; God created all people from ‘one blood,’ which means there is no one inherently inferior to another. He also determined where people should live on the earth with a purpose …. This scripture tells me that it is impossible to find an identity and national consciousness apart from God. A nation that will stand and last for generations is one that has been built on the Chief Cornerstone” – My Life’s Journey, p. 278.
If you are interested in Africa and enjoy memoir, you’ll love My Life’s Journey. Thank you to my brother and sister-in-law, who gave me a copy after discovering this book during a recent trip to Uganda to visit their missionary son and his family. View all my reviews