Who is Robert Kabushenga? Flash Uganda Media looks at his Biography, Early Life, Education, Networth, Wife, Family, work and experience of the current Vision Group CEO.
Robert Kabushenga is a Ugandan media personality, Lawyer, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vision Group serving in that capacity since January 2007.
Robert Kabushenga – Early Life and Education
Robert Kabushenga was born to the late Geoffrey Sabiti Kabushenga in Kampala. His father suffered from Schizophrenia and Depression from his teenage years, despite that he completed a degree at Makerere University and served at the Foreign Ministry.
He as well worked as Editor of the Makererean and retired at the rank of Ambassador. However, Kabushenga was raised by a single mother.
Robert Kabushenga holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Makerere University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre (LDC), Kampala. He as well attended the American Academy of International Law, Dallas Texas.
Robert Kabushenga – Work and Experience
Robert Kabushenga began hustling at a very tender age, the first job he worked for his mom vending bread scones or buns as they used to be called which his mom used to make at home.
“In one of our local languages they are referred to as “mwana akaaba” the baby is crying (for bread I guess). I used to walk around the neighbourhood, knocking on doors at tea time to sell my fresh smelling eats. I threw my whole life into doing this job that I even earned a nickname ‘Buns’ from friends.”
In doing this continuously, the market expanded to the local shops. Although none of them bought the buns in large quantities.
If he got a bulk buyer, it would not exceed 10 buns. And the day they get bulk orders it was his mom, but usually, they did retail sales however, one by one the sales accumulated.
This business never lasted long enough to grow into a confectionary. Kabushenga’s mom’s oven started to break down often. Supply became inconsistent. Customers were disappointed. Some of them found other options.
Then the war to remove Idi Amin Dada as President of Uganda came and his mother’s business collapsed. At the time, his mother worked as a receptionist and he could handle the buns business they did at home.
Kabushenga’s mother was a single mother who had three of her own younger sisters to take through school, two nieces to look after and two of her sons to look after. That’s seven people including her. This was on her salary.
His mother became pregnant with him just after finishing her 0-Level class (Grade 10 or Year 11). After that, she went to town and got a job. That was it.
As time went by, her salary couldn’t cope and the economy of the 70s and 80s collapsed. It took with it her ability to provide. To survive she took to selling snacks and drinks at her office.
The only employee apart from herself she could afford was me. That’s how she made extra money and that’s how we went to school. This was not entrepreneurship. It was the art of survival.
Later on, Kabushenga got a job counting and packing newspapers at New Vision. I did this at night while studying for a Law Degree during the day at Makerere University.
He also worked as a panellist and later moderator on the popular Capital Gang radio programme in the early 2000s.
Robert Kabushenga is the CEO of the Vision Group in Uganda from January 2007 till date. He is an advocate of the High Court of Uganda and a member of the Uganda and East African Law Societies.
Before joining Vision Group, Kabushenga served as the Executive Director of the Uganda Media Centre, a public affairs department in the office of the President Government of Uganda. In this role, he worked as a government spokesman and was responsible for government communications.
Robert Kabushenga had earlier worked as Board Secretary for the New Vision PPCL for three years until 2005, Company Secretary and Legal Officer of this company as well as Legal and Administration Officer of the Monitor Publications Ltd and also the Chief Executive Director of Vision Eye Institute Ltd.
He worked on attachments with The Times of London newspaper at the time he attended the American Academy of International Law, Dallas Texas.
Kabushenga as well worked as a political talk show host and columnist for nine years before retiring to concentrate on his new managerial responsibilities.
He is a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative-East Africa and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
In the decade Mr Kabushenga has been in charge of new Vision, the media group has opened six radio stations, launched two television stations, including the popular Bukedde TV, Urban TV and moved into digital publishing.
Under his tenure, annual profit grew by 56%, from Shs3.4billion in 2007 to Shs5.2 billion in 2015.
Robert Kabushenga – His Controversies
Robert Kabushenga asked the court to chase out journalists out of the courtroom the time he was being tried for illegally taking his grandmother’s piece of land in 2013.
Kabushenga pleaded with Justice Michael Elubu to chase away journalists from the courtroom arguing, that they had damaged his reputation already by circulating information of his arrest the previous day. However, Justice Elubu kept a deaf ear and did not allow his pleas to be considered.
Meanwhile, his lawyer Michael Akampuriira, of Akampuriira partners asked the court to refuse all letters of the administration saying, that his client’s grandmother signed them ignorantly since she is too old to read or interpret what she is writing.
Faith Kabushenga, 90 years, being ridden in a wheelchair, dismissed the claim saying, that even if she is blind she can reason very well.
“Blind eyes are not connected to my intelligent head. I can reason very well and my husband’s property has got its rightful owner, not somebody whom I just knew twenty years after he was born,” she told the court.
The piece of land in question measures to 100 acres of which 38 are located in Nyakabungo Rugyeyo and 62 acres in Kayonza Butogota in Kanungu district.
Canon Faith Kabushenga, says she bought all that land together with her late husband in early years while chairing the Land Board for Greater Rukungiri-Kanungu district through pulling their salaries together before her grandson Robert Kabushenga was brought to her family from Bugishu.
“My grandson Robert connived with his Untie Dr Emilt Twinamasiko, former deputy director NARO, and grabbed about 10 acres of land located in Kayonza where they planted tea.”
“I went to the High Court to get letters of administration to secure the land so that I could distribute to my sons and daughters.”
Faith Kabushenga later in an interview said that after the death of her husband in 2005 at Rugarmiro Katookye in Rugyeyo Kanungu, all her estates were inherited by her last born, Dr Hamlet Mbabazi Kabushenga, as agreed by her husband before his death in the presence of family members and family trustees.
Dr Hamlet Mbabazi Kabushenga’s side of the story
Mbabazi Kabushenga described Robert Kabushenga’s running to court as an unnecessary conviction.
He also told that all actions are taken in reality and respectful to state orders.
“Kabushenga’s actions show greed and being used by family members to grab the family land for wrong intensions,” Mbabazi stated, adding, that it is a stage-managed scheme by a section of family members intended to grab the family land to the exclusion of others.”
“How can you fight for the administration of your grandfather’s property when he left his wife and an heir who is still living?” Mbabazi wondered.
He assured the court that his mother is of sound mind only that “She was injected with some illicit drugs by the group to disorganize her. She was confined by Robert Kabushenga in Entebbe lying to her that she was in Rugyeyo Kanungu”.
Robert Kabushenga won the case against his grandmother. According to Justice Michael Elubu revoked the letters of administration under claims that they appeared to be forged, and the court ordered the family to compensate Kabushenga.
Mr Kabushenga and his Uncle Solomon Kabushenga demanded 108m Uganda shillings compensation from his grandmother Canon Faith Kabushenga and Rev. Dr Hamlet Kabushenga but later the two parties settled on 14m shillings.
Kabushenga’s grandmother got displeased with the court decision and pondered where she would get such amounts of money since most of her land from which she was earning a living had been grabbed.
“It’s so shocking in our Bakiga tradition, to see a grandson who should be protecting his blinded and feeble grandmother, behaving in this manner,” said Hamlet.
Another case of threatening violence
In another controversy, Robert Kabushenga was also accused of intentionally knocking his nephew, Gerald Mbabazi and also reportedly threatened to shoot his uncle Tumwesigye while at Makanga in 2014.
The case was rejected at Kanungu police under SD REF:25/28/03/2014 and CRB 286/2014.
Tumwesigye alleges that Kabushenga while passing by his car put him on gunpoint but he fled. “My nephew needs mental checkups. His parents too died of mental illness,” Tumwesigye said.
The late George William Kabushenga, Robert Kabushenga’s grandfather fathered 11 children. But only five are still living and these include; James Robert Tumwesigye, Hamlet Kabushenga, Irene Ndinyenka, Solomon Tindiwegi alias Kagosi and Dr Hilda Tadria.
Six died including; Dr Emilly Twinamatsiko, Jack Twinobusingye, Geoffrey Sabiiti, Agatha Kirungi and Celia Tusiime.
However, Hamlet, a former MP for Kinkizi East, accused the plaintiffs of harassing his mother, who is a grandmother to Kabushenga. Hamlet insists that Faith is more than capable of administering the estate.
“How has she managed to look after the same for the last ten years since her husband passed away?” he asked.
Executive director, Robert Kabushenga in 2015 was compelled by parliament committee on commissions, statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) to avail the Group’s staff list entailing names of staff, designation, and district of origin, date of appointment, qualification and salary.
The demand was made when the Vision Group top management led by the Group CEO Robert Kabushenga, appeared before the committee to respond to audit queries covering the period from 2011 to June 2013.
During the meeting, the committee asked Kabushenga to present the list of origin, date of appointment, qualification and salary but in vain.
Explanation by Kabushenga that releasing the list would expose the staff salaries were rejected by the MPs. He had revealed that he had started his case in a private meeting with the then committee chairperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda.
Elijah Okupa, the COSASE committee led counsel noted that they had agreed on the kind of information they needed from all entities and authorities and the group was no exception.
Committee chairperson Ibrahim Ssemujju confirmed that he had had a conversation with Kabushenga, in which, he pleaded not to submit the staff list.
He, however, noted that the decision was not for him to make but the committee.
Margaret Baba Diri, Koboko District Woman MP insisted that Mr Kabushenga presents the staff list adding that, COSASE was an accountability committee and therefore needs to know how public money is spent.
Florence Namayanja, the then COSASE committee vice chairperson noted that Vision Group was not any special from other entities and wondered why management wants to keep the staff list private.
The committee unanimously resolved management presents the staff list prompting Ssemujju to adjourn the meeting for 15 minutes. On presenting the list, Mr Kabushenga asked members to treat the information as confidential.
However, the staff list lacked some of the information as requested by the committee such as the district of origin, designation, date of appointment and qualification.
Ssemujju directed that the information be availed to the committee in the next two days.
Robert Kabushenga – Family
Robert Kabushenga is married to Cindy Kabushenga and together they have children.
Kabushenga – net worth
In 2012, Robert Kabushenga net worth was estimated to be at 15m USD. He is the real estate revolutionary behind Akright projects.