Who is Dr Ruhakana Rugunda? Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, early life, education and family of the current Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda.
Rt. Hon Dr Ruhakana Rugunda is a Ugandan politician who has been Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda since 2014, a physician by profession; a father and a husband.
Rugunda has held a long series of Cabinet posts under President Yoweri Museveni’s leadership since 1986.
He served as Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 1996 and as a Minister of Internal Affairs from 2003 to 2009.
Subsequently, he was Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2009 to 2011 and Minister of Health from 2013 to 2014.
He is the 10th Prime Minister of Uganda, who assumed office on 18 September 2014 preceded by Amama Mbabazi who was dropped from cabinet.
Early Life and Education
Ruhakana Rugunda was born in Bugongi Kabale District on 7th November 1947, to Nora and Solomon Rugunda. As a young boy, he would often sit and read the newspapers to his father Solomon Rugunda, and it is these experiences at an early age that sparked his later interest in politics.
Rugunda attended Rwere Primary School, Kigezi High School and Busoga College Mwiri where he served as head prefect.
After, Ruhakana Rugunda joined Makerere University Medical School and later the University of Zambia where he studied medicine, graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 1975.
After, Rugunda joined the University of California, Berkeley and obtained a Master of Science in Public health in 1978.
Work and Experience
While attending Makerere University in Uganda, Rugunda, commonly referred to as “Ndugu” (Swahili for “brother”) by friends, served as President of the National Union of Students of Uganda (NUSU), a political youth movement from 1970 to 1971.
Rugunda was keenly involved in student activities and held responsibilities as President of African Students Union, University of California, Berkely from 1977 to1978 and President, Kigezi United Youth Association (KUYA).
As a young political activist, Rugunda was part of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and was said to be close to President Apollo Milton Obote.
He served as the Deputy health Minister from 1979 to 1980.
Rugunda was one of a few who had been seen by Obote as future leaders of the party and country.
In one of the last interviews before his death, Obote lamented as to why the brilliant Rugunda had gotten himself entangled with Yoweri Museveni and the National Resistance Movement (NRM).
In 1985 he met with the leaders of the Ugandan National Resistance Movement (NRM) at the inn (Zum grunen Jager” in Unterolberdort, Austria, for a conspirative conference to elaborate a political program for liberated Uganda.
After Museveni took power in 1986, Rugunda held a long series of Cabinet posts: he was Minister of Health from 1986 to 1988, Minister of Works, Transport and Communication from 1988 to 1994, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 1996, Minister of Information from 1996 to 1998, Minister at the Presidency from 1998 to 2001, Minister of Water, Lands and Environment from 2001 to 2003, and Minister of Internal Affairs from 2003 to 2009.
He also served as Chairman of the NRM Electoral Commission, as Member of Parliament for Kabale Municipality, and as President of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
From January 2009 to 2011, he was appointed as Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) at the time the country held a seat at the UN Security Council. At the same time, the position was elevated to Cabinet Ministerial level in Uganda.
In the cabinet reshuffle of 27 May 2011, he was instead appointed as Minister of Information and Communication Technology.
In May 2013, he was moved to the post of Minister of Health, replacing Christian Ondoa, who became an advisor to the President of Uganda on public health matters.
In 1986, he served as the Commissioner for Animal Industry, Game and Fisheries.
Rugunda has also served as President of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN-2002/3), and President, Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)-2003/4).
Others positions Rugunda served in are chairperson, Global Ministerial Environment Forum (2003), Security Council working group on conflicts prevention and resolution in Africa and assembly of promoters for Kabale University.
The Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda was sworn in as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda by H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on 2nd October 2014, becoming the 10th person to hold the office since the country’s independence in 1962. He is the leader of government business in Parliament.
He has led many Government initiatives, the Government of Uganda delegation to the Juba-based Peace Talks between the Government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from July 2006 to January 2009.
From 1989 to 2001 he represented Kabale Municipality as a Member of Parliament.
Before joining Uganda’s politics, Rugunda worked as a medical officer in Zambia from 1975 to 1976, a physician (resident physician in paediatrics) at the District of Columbia (Washington DC) General Hospital from 1978 to 1979, Medical Training Centre, Nairobi Kenya from 1981 to 1982, Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi department of paediatrics from 1982 to 1984, at UN Institute for Namibia, Lusaka, Zambia from 1976-77 and department of tropical paediatrics university teaching hospital, Sweden from 1984 to 1985.
A professional physician, Rugunda carries with him a wealth of medical experience spanning 10 years from 1995-86 within which he published six papers.
Others are chairperson, Global ministerial environment forum (2003), Security Council working group on conflicts prevention and resolution in Africa and assembly of promoters for Kabale University.
Family – Ruhakana Rugunda
Ruhakana Rugunda is married to Jocelyn Rugunda and together they have four children and three grandchildren.
Hobbies and Interests
Rugunda enjoys reading, playing tennis and chess in his leisure time.