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In February 2022, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the Commander in Chief of the UPDF, appointed Brig. Gen. Felix Kulayigye as the spokesperson for the UPDF. FILE PHOTO

Who is Felix Kulayigye? Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, age, early life, wife, education, family, relationship with Justine Bagonza, Flavia Byekwaso, President Museveni, work and experience of the current Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) spokesperson.

Felix Kulayigye is a Ugandan Brigadier General, a Chief Political Commissar and platoon commander. 

He’s the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) spokesperson appointed to the position on 4 February 2022 replacing Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso who was sent on a course at the National Defense College Uganda as well as the Ministry of Defense.

This is his second time serving as the UPDF spokesperson. His first service was in 2005 till 2013 and concurrently served as a Member of Parliament representing the UPDF.

Kulayigye is a very humble, articulate military officer and the longest-serving military and defence spokesperson in Uganda.

Early Life and Education

Felix Kulayigye was born to Fredrick Semichacha and Regina Abagirinka in Gayaza Village, in Masaka District in 1964. 

Kulayigye’s family migrated from Kisoro District and settled in present-day Bukomansimbi District formerly Masaka District. 

He is the last born in a family of nine. His mother died soon after Kulayigye was born and as a result, Kulayigye grew up in an orphanage centre in Rutshuru in Kisoro District where his father sought the help of the Nuns that ran the orphanage to take care of Kulayigye until the age his father could handle.

His father loved him very much, was protective and was his best friend. Kulayigye’s father shared a lot of stories with his son, mentored and shaped him into the man he’s today.

Born to a peasant home, his father worked so hard to ensure his children isattend school and instill religious values in them. Even if it rains, they would attend church service. 

Felix Kulayigye attended several primary schools, before completing his primary seven at St. Herman Nkoni Boy’s Primary School in Masaka District. 

Kulayigye then joined Kabalega Secondary School from where he obtained his O’ Level Certificate and Kololo High School for his A’ Level education.

In 1989, Kulayigye graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and then later a Master of Arts from Makerere University. His childhood dream was to be a Newscaster; he admired journalists like Bbaale Francis (late), Dan Kyazze and Christopher Ddamulira.

However, his ambition changed along the way after receiving a kick from a soldier on his way from Masaka to Kampala. The soldier asked for his ID, as he was going through it, Kulayigye realised that the soldier was holding the ID upside down.

As he tried to correct him, he received a kick. Ever since then, Kulayigye vowed to become a soldier, to ensure that such ill behaviours among soldiers end.

Growing up, Kulaigye went through a lot. At the age of three, he was diagnosed with polio which was corrected with better medical attention. 

Also, when he had just joined university, he suffered from Hepatitis B, an infection of the liver caused by a virus that is spread through blood and body fluids. But after acquiring treatment, he recovered.

Also, he survived various ambushes during the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war in Northern Uganda by God’s Grace. He says, without God, he wouldn’t have survived all these. 

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Felix Kulayigye replaces Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso (above), who went to the National Defense College of Uganda in Njeru, Buikwe District in the Eastern Region of Uganda.

Military Career

Felix Kulayigye joined UPDF in 1989, after completing his Bachelor’s Degree at Makerere University Kampala. He witnessed combat in Northern Uganda against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighting the elusive rebel, Joseph Kony.

However, he previously served in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the war that involved over five countries 

While there he served as a platoon commander. 

Then from 2005 to 2013, he was the UPDF Spokesperson replacing Col. Shaban Bantariza on November 6, 2005, who was then nominated for a course at the Senior Command Training College Kimaka in Jinja and later as the Chief Political Commissar. Kulayigye was Batariza’s Assistant.

In 2016, Kulayigye got elected to serve as a Member of Parliament representing the UPDF in the 10th Parliament (2016 to 2021). He spent some time in the Presidential Protection Unit, which today is part of the Special Forces Command in the UPDF.

In February 2019, Kulayigye was promoted from the rank of Colonel to Brigadier in a military promotions exercise that involved more than 2,000 UPDF men and women.

Brigadier General Felix Kulayigye was then reappointed as the UPDF Spokesperson in February 2022, by the Commander in Chief, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Felix Kulayigye replaced Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso, who was sent on a course at the National Defense College, Uganda in Njeru, Buikwe District in the Eastern Region of Uganda.

Other Responsibilities

Felix Kulaigye served as the chairperson of Livingstone Hall at Makerere University. Also, he loves farming and is an advocate for organic foods.

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He joined the UPDF after finishing his Bachelor’s degree at Makerere University Kampala in 1989.

Family

Felix Kulayigye is married to Justine Bagonza, headmistress of St Peter’s SS, Nkokonjeru and together they’re parents of three daughters and two sons; Jancita Mbabazi, Che Frederick, Sankara Fidel, Mandela Felicity, Abangira Anne.

The two got married in 1997 after a long time friendship that began in 1987, at St. Mary’s College Kisubi Chapel, the two were coursemates at the university. At the time his wife was a teacher at Iganga SSS, teaching English while Kulayigye had just joined a military college.

Kulayigye is a loving man who loves his wife dearly and her children. His children are his best friends and when at home, he’s more like a brother to them. They’re open to each other.