Justine Kasule Lumumba: Biography, Education, Husband, Marriage, House and Family of the current Secretary-General of the National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Justine Kasule Lumumba is a Ugandan politician, educator, mother and wife. She is the current Secretary-General of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), the ruling political party in Uganda.
She was appointed to that position on 23 December 2014, replacing Amama Mbabazi.
Before that, she served as the Chief Government Whip in the cabinet of Uganda from May 2011 until December 2014.
Justine Kasule Lumumba also served as the elected Member of Parliament for Bugiri district women’s representative, from 2001, until her resignation in December 2014.
Early Life and Education
Justine Kasule Lumumba was born in Bugiri district on 22 November 1972. She attended St. Anthony Senior Secondary School in Nkokonjeru for her O ‘Level studies.
Lumumba then joined St. Joseph’s Secondary School Naggalama, for her A ‘Level education and later on in 1993 she got admitted to Makerere University, where she graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts with a concurrent Diploma in education.
Lumumba says the trek to the top is not an easy one. She grew up in a polygamous family of 18 siblings and her father’s wives.
“It was a polygamous home, and we were all living in one house with so many rooms – twelve in all – and two sitting rooms,” she said.
Lumumba however, says this polygamous establishment helped her learn how to compete and also created a strong bond between them.
“We had to compete for everything,” she said. Emphasizing that among the delicacies that drew fierce fights was meat.
Looking back at how they hustled in the family of 18 children and four women, Lumumba now says: “I would prefer the style of separating the homes” if someone is to have more than one wife.
Growing up in a Catholic-grounded family, Lumumba’s perceived destiny was one of being a nun and dedicating her life to God and the church. But after completing her O’ Level exams at St. Anthony SS, Nkkonjeru, she was advised by her sister Babirye, herself a nun, to continue with her studies.
“That is how I ended up at St. Joseph’s Secondary School Nagalama,” she said.
During her days at Nagalama, Lumumba recalls John Chrysostom Muyingo, the Bamunnanika MP and State Minister for Education, a man she says shaped their future as the headteacher of the great school.
“Dr Muyingo was our headteacher at Nagalama and he taught us how to dance with boys and how to use cutlery. This was very important because I attend so many high-profile meetings these days. And I find so many people who don’t know how to use cutlery, then I ask myself: what school did this person go to? She said.
A jovial and calm legislator, Lumumba said that at the campus, she never missed the Wednesday ladies night at Angenoir, which was a nascent nightclub in the 90s.
“I used to dance lingala (music from Dr. Congo), and people would give me space.”
And like any varsity student, the experience of freedom at Makerere came with a boyfriend, a chapter that came with costs.
“When I was in first year, he was in third year. I remember when I went to visit a friend at Kikoni, I went to draw water, and he saw me and followed me. He was consistent, and in my third year, I considered his proposal,” she said.
In her third year, Justine Kasule Lumumba also got pregnant. “By 1997 I was pregnant. He introduced me and we got married. We have two sons now, and I am praying for a daughter.”
Lumumba says among the many reasons she got married to her husband was the fact that he was a committed Catholic. Today, however, her husband is a born-again Christian who prays at Watoto church, and they often split the children during Sunday services.
“For me, I remained Catholic. I married him because he was a staunch Catholic, but he has changed,” Lumumba talks about her husband, who she says loves and often dances to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe, with his sons.
Work and Experience
From 1996 until 1997 Justine Kasule Lumumba worked as a teacher. Then from 1997 until 1998, she worked as the Acting District Inspector of schools in her home district Bugiri.
From 1998 until 2001, she worked as a Senior Education Officer at the Ministry of Education.
In 2001, she was elected to the parliament, on the National Resistance Movement (NRM) political party ticket, to serve as the Women’s representative for Bugiri district.
Lumumba was re-elected and served until December 2014, when she stepped down to become Secretary-General of the ruling NRM political party. In May 2011, she served as the government chief whip, replacing John Nasasira.
During the 2016 second round of the Presidential Candidates Debate, Lumumba was caught in a controversy warning parents that the Police will shoot their children who will engage in post-election violence.
There were also concerns, raised by the public on Museveni’s comments after missing the first round of the debate; when he referred to it in vernacular as a school children’s “talking competition.”
On this matter, Mrs Lumumba clarified that the debate reminded him of the old-time school debates. “What is wrong when one says that something reminds him of what happened in the past?” she said.
The Secretary-General of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), Justine Kasule Lumumba accepted comments attributed to her in the media that she said the government was going to shoot and kill people involved in post-election violence.
In an audio recording that was widely spread on social media, Lumumba was heard warning parents in the central region to restrain their children from joining the then purportedly planned post-election violence, sildenafil noting that these would be risking their lives.
Lumumba made the warning in January 2016 in Nsangi, while speaking at the commissioning of NRM flag bearers for Wakiso District.
The remarks caused widespread outrage, compelling the Party Secretariat to release a brief statement clarifying that the SG had been quoted out of context.
However, Lumumba admitted that she made the remarks and that she would stand by them, to protect the innocent and misguided youths from being killed.
Appearing on the Capital Gang, a weekly radio talk show on Capital FM, Mrs Lumumba blamed the media for editing the recording and playing out only the alarming part.
She noted, “I told parents who were there and those who weren’t; those in Kampala and Wakiso. I advised them to go and talk to their children. You know we have a habit these days as parents, we don’t give enough time to our children.”
“I told them there was information that there are people talking to their children, telling them that after the voting day, they should go on the streets of Kampala; and are not even telling them what they should go and do on those streets.”
“When they get on the streets of Kampala, depending on what they are doing, they can be arrested, and they can be shot at. The state won’t look on when people are destabilizing peace. They (media) edited out the other options that I gave, and took only the point of shooting; but I told them that their children could be arrested, imprisoned or shot.”
Mrs Lumumba said she was unapologetic and that she would not retract her statement.
She noted, “The media have amplified this but I personally don’t see anything wrong with it, unless someone is going to show it to me. We should really learn to be open and tell people because I was a parent warning fellow parents. I also have teenagers. It is like when someone comes and warns you that there is a dangerous snake on the road you are taking and then you say this person placed the snake in road and came to warn me.”
Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi appearing on various radio stations described Justine Kasule Lumumba as a sloppy Chief Whip, who has registered a dismal performance in managing an erratic NRM majority in the House.
On the other hand, Ofwono Opondo, the NRM Deputy Spokesperson, blamed the chaotic scenes in Parliament – that often portray the ruling party badly to the NRM leadership in the House.
Yet Lumumba remains unfazed by the rhetoric of the two gentlemen. Asked how she is going to up her whipping game in Parliament, the Bugiri woman MP and former Parliamentary commissioner said she can’t delve into that subject because she will be ‘opening up’ her “ticks” of dealing with the NRM troops in Parliament.
Lumumba, mostly mistaken by those who don’t know her to be a man because of her name Kasule Lumumba once said that she tells the truth and “life goes on.”
“I don’t tell lies. I don’t promise what I will not do. I endeavored to fulfill what I have promised.” She said.
Lumumba also contributed to the frosty debate of “who owns Migingo”, a football-pitch size island in her constituency that has caused a diplomatic row between Uganda and Kenya.
During a recent Kenya presidential campaigns debate, almost all the contestants reiterated that Migingo is in Kenya.
“I am the MP for Migingo. As an MP, I tell that it is in Uganda,” she said.
However, she was quick to point out that “the technical people” have the final say about the war-threatening boundary matter. Lumumba also points to the abundant fish at Migingo as the reason for the bickering. The woman of the truth, who joined politics in 2001, also lets off a salvo on corruption – a beast that has left her ruling NRM government hanging by its fingernails.
Lumumba argued that to curb the vice, Ugandans must realize that the fight against it is not for government alone but, rather, responsibility for all Ugandans.
She also suggests that whistleblowers should be paid handsomely and be highly guarded as a way of encouraging them to report cases of corruption. The former inspector of schools, Lumumba, suggested that corruption is so embedded in society that she was once appointed to supervise schools in Bugiri district in 1997, just after finishing school.
“In July 1997, new districts started, and they (government officials who knew her) game me a job as an education officer. It was odd because you cannot leave school and inspect school” she said.
Fresh from Makerere University, with an undergraduate degree in education, Lumumba used to supervise people four times her senior.
“It was hard. But they used to advise me,” she said. But her young and energetic sparks sowed a political seed she never anticipated. Lumumba said she had feared politics all her life because in the 1980s when DP lost the elections, her father, a staunch DP supporter and chairperson of the party in the region, suffered a lot.
“When UPC won, we suffered. They robbed us; all our property was taken by the UPC Chairperson of our region, and that made me fear politics.”
But her stint as an education officer opened the gates for the then naïve would-be politician. Lumumba says she used to ride a motorcycle during her supervisory duties in Bugiri district – something that exposed her to many people.
They were shocked that an education officer would ride a motorcycle, a feat earlier viewed as a male preserve.
After fours of riding a motorcycle, Kasule Lumumba joined politics in 2001 – sealing the journey of a humble Catholic girl whose first trip to Kampala was when she came to pick her admission letter from Makerere University in 1993.
“I have come from far,” she said.
Family, religion and personal life
Justine Kasule Lumumba is married to Patrick Lumumba and together they have two sons. If everything had gone according to plan, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Secretary-General, Justine Kasule Lumumba, would now be one of the nuns in the convents of Uganda.
However, she veered away from her childhood dream, stumbling into marriage and later politics, which have raised her to fame.
“Despite having missed being a nun, I am a fervent Catholic, who never misses mass. In fact, that is why I was elected to head the Catholic Chaplaincy in Parliament,” she said.
Kasule credits the diversion from her dream vacation to her husband, Patrick Lumumba, whom she met at Kyambogo University.
Speaking at Irundu Catholic Parish Church in Kagulu sub-county, Buyende District during the ordination of the Rev. Fr. Mugalagala, Lumumba confessed that her dream was shattered by the father of her children, Patrick Lumumba, who’s love drove her crazy, forcing her to change goalposts.
“I must confess that he diverted my thoughts,” she said, adding that although her husband is reserved and rarely appears in public, their love is still intact and growing.
Recalling her teenage years, Kasule said she was a lead vocalist songster and devout worshipper, reciting the Rosary and singing church hymns and songs of praise.
Lumumba was hosted by Irundu Parish Priest the Rev. Fr. Michael Mudoola, and the function officiated by the Bishop of the Jinja Diocese, the Rev. Fr. Martin Wamika.
The former chairperson for Bugiri, Malijiani Azaalwa, was also all praise for Kasule, saying despite the high rank, she cherishes religion and is a common figure at Catholic functions, fundraising, parties and funerals.
Lumumba in December 2019 celebrated 20 years in marriage and renewed her wedding vows with her husband, Patrick Lumumba.
The bride tweeted, “I thank everyone that joined Mr Patrick Lumumba and I at Lubaga Cathedral yesterday where we renewed our marriage vows as we marked and celebrated having made 20 years in holy matrimony.”