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THE STORY OF DIANA KAMUNTU: M7’S DAUGHTER WHO VALUES PARENTING, BEING SOMEONE’S WIFE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE

She was unable to see or get to know dad earlier because he was always away fighting for good governance in his country Uganda.

By Mulengera Reporters

She is a mother and wife to Geoffrey Kamuntu, the deliberately introverted and least known of Gen Museveni’s sons-in-law. They have been husband and wife for the last 19 years having got married in early 2000s. Like her spouse, Diana is a private person and likes living low-profiled life. Even when Yoweri and Janet Museveni were strict parents ever very protective of their children, some degree of freedom and choice was always permitted when it came to choosing one’s marriage partner. In a Magazine interview, Diana opens up a bit about how she met with Geoffrey Kamuntu. This was at the house of her other sister Natasha Karugire whose husband, Edwin, was a good friend of Geoffrey Kamuntu.

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“He was a friend to my sister’s husband and we met at their house. I was attracted to him because he is very tall and good looking.  He is also calm and easy to get to know,” she fondly speaks about him in the Magazine interview that largely focused on religion, spirituality, exile life, movie-acting, farming, business and social aspects of life. Gen Museveni’s daughter also enumerates things she considers most important in life with parenting and being someone’s wife coming at the very top. She describes herself as proud to be someone’s daughter, wife and mother.

The soft-spoken daughter of the Ugandan veteran leader also shares reading the Bible to be one of her deepest fascinations. And she likes coming off as that perfect wife and mother portrayed as ideal in the Bible. Remarking about ways in which getting married and becoming someone’s wife significantly changed her life, Gen Museveni’s daughter says: “It’s a definite change in any woman’s life. You take on more responsibility and as the Bible says, you leave your father and mother and cleave to someone new. In my case, it took some adjustment but it’s a thrilling journey.” Despite being introverted and not so much of a public figure, the Magazine story author describes Diana Kamuntu as one who likes “smiling and laughing a lot.” Talking of the Chemistry that preceded her proclamation of ‘I do,’ the First Daughter says they weren’t totally strangers to each other having been friends in the same circles and that “it wasn’t love at first sight.” Theirs was “a friendship that steadily grew into a strong love.” She is grateful once she chose him to be her perfect man, her parents trusted her maturity, sense of judgment and came along embracing her decision.

Attempting her hand on acting, Diana Museveni Kamuntu acted as Janet Museveni in her sister Natasha’s Karugire’s film ’27 Guns.’

She also vividly reminisces the day she first took Geoffrey Kamuntu to her parents, Yoweri & Janet Museveni, with a lot of fondness. “He was more nervous than any of us because my father asks very pointed questions but his composure was very beautiful. My mother, on the other hand, provided support soothing the situation. Besides, he had met her first and they had gotten to know each other.” They had courtship, characterized by whirlwind romance, before finally getting married into the serious phase.

Diana Kamuntu also adds that, by that time, she had picked plenty of useful marriage/spousal-related experiences from her mother Janet Museveni and her other elder siblings who had gotten married earlier. So, she had an idea about what to expect in her eventual marriage. Even when this was the case, Diana says inevitably there have been challenges as it always happens in every marriage. And she rationalizes the inevitability of such challenges. “You are two different people with your own issues and egos. So, there is bound to be differences. Even though the advice many people give may seem cliché, it is true. The foundation of every marriage is God because it is He who helps you stick together.” One year into the marriage she got her first child (a girl) before subsequently producing two others- both of them boys. And she says “That meant more responsibility because then I was not only looking after my husband anymore.”

During the pregnancy of her second child, Diana Kamuntu set out to start a business which she later learnt was more exhausting and time-consuming than she initially thought. “Any mother will tell you its challenging looking after young children much as it’s very rewarding and fulfilling. My children are the reason I get out of bed every day. They are the joy of my life. My daughter is now [16] years old while my boys are aged [14] and [12].”

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She also shares on being mother to both boys and girls as opposed to children of one sex. “My daughter is very much like me. She loves to dress up, to bake and she is very good with her hands. The boys, on the other hand, are quite a handful.”           Leveraging on her own experience, the President’s daughter counsels that prospective mothers and fathers ought to adequately prepare before plunging into parenthood. “I personally think that motherhood is the hardest job in the world but also the most rewarding. It’s not something you enter into lightly. You will invest emotions for a lifetime. You have got to be ready to give time and attention. It might be difficult in the beginning but it’s an honor to be steward for another person.”

Each time she gets exhausted and broken, Diana Kamuntu says she turns to God and extended family members for the replenishment she requires to carry on for another mile in her life journey as someone’s wife, mother and daughter. She also always counts on friends for strength to carry on while looking forward to a better tomorrow. She is also deeply into reading and mostly reads fictional writings. “I really love reading fiction. For, it’s a form of escape into a fantasy world and one of my favorite writers was Francine Rivers. She wrote deep fiction,” says the President’s daughter who has never been cited in any scandal or bust up with anyone. She believes in working for herself as opposed to feeling entitled simply because she is the daughter of a big man.

First Lady Janet Museveni’s last born is married to Geoffrey Kamuntu, a scandal-free Kampala private businessman.

As a child, Diana (who is also Janet Museveni’s last born) recalls being a Tomboy of sorts, a thing her parents were never bothered about and instead preferred that she organically outgrows it on her own. “I was a bit of a Tomboy between the ages of 8 and 10. Somewhere along the way, I switched to being a girly-girl. My parents just let me outgrow it probably also because I was the last born. But when I transitioned, in many ways, I took after my mother.”

As a little young girl, Diana Kamuntu liked adventure holidays and this is something she has fond memories of. “My parents would always take us to the village in Rwakitura. My father would wake us up at 6am every morning to go see the cows. While my elder sisters and brother worked on the farm, we the younger ones were excused. I loved the freedom to run around. We used to play Matatu (cards) quite a bit.”

As a young mother, Diana Kamuntu has been deliberate to ensure her children grow through the same routine and practice. She often takes them to the village to become acquainted with the farm each time they get school holiday. “I try to get them out more often. We go camping and the kids are encouraged to ride their bikes as much as possible,” she says.

SCHOOL LIFE

As a toddler, Diana preferred to go through what normal kids do. She went through the rigorous normal schooling system at Kampala Parents School about which she has fond memories (as opposed to studying abroad which her parents could afford). Prof Lawrence Mukiibi was the Principal there having been employed by Kasole Bwerere Lwanga, the original owner and proprietor. Diana Kamuntu recalls: “We lived in Entebbe and had to commute to school every day. We woke up at 5am every day and returned in the evening to do homework. There are was even homework to be done during holidays. Basically, as a pupil, you didn’t have a life,” she casually explains. As a student in O’level, Diana Kamuntu recalls Chemistry to be the subject she resented most because it required a lot of cram work which wasn’t her thing. Her best study areas were antiquities, archeology and history. “I’m especially fascinated by African stories that haven’t been told authentically.”

From Kampala Parents for primary, the President’s daughter joined Mount St. Mary’s College Namagunga in Mukono district whereafter she enrolled into University of Minnesota in the United States for a degree in Archeology. This is how she justifies her fascination with history related studies: “I strongly believe in the saying that ‘you can’t know where you are going unless you know where you are coming from’ and I think it’s a big part of our problem as Africans. If we knew our history as well as we should, we would be in a different place.”

In her entire life, the deeply spiritual Diana Museveni Kamuntu is chiefly proud of three things namely being a mother, someone’s daughter and wife.

 

HER FIRST JOB

After completing her degree program in Minnesota, Diana returned home to rejoin the family and her dad deployed her to become manager and overseer of his Kisozi ranch. This was to be her job for the next two years until she got married to logistics management guru Geoffrey Kamuntu in the early 2000s. She subsequently opened her own tour & travel company or business called “Age Safaris.” She was being fascinated by the need to amplify publicity for Uganda’s tourism potential which she got to see and appreciate during her own leisure tours. She felt Uganda was a compellingly great country whose beauty hadn’t been adequately publicized and portrayed to the rest of the world.

She recalls the tour & travel business was initially not easy because her company had to compete with many other more established players doing the same. She was new in the trade, amateurish and not that connected to key players. She says: “I was on the verge of giving up but my husband encouraged me to keep going. I realized that the most successful brands are third or fourth generation. So, patience was needed if I was to build something that would last.” She later got her breakthrough and business kept getting better. Besides the tourism business, she also went into farming and opened up a dairy farm and a vineyard in her birth place of Ntungamo district where both her parents hail from.

It had to be vineyard because, as Diana Kamuntu explains, “The weather in that part of the country is favorable for grapes and the plan was to go into production.” She would equally involve her children in especially the dairy farming venture because: “We grew up with cows. They are part of my heritage. So, I had to teach my children the same. It was never difficult getting them involved in the work especially when you explain to them the economic gain behind it.”

Diana Kamuntu has also been into some acting and indeed acted as First Lady in the Ugandan movie, titled 27 Guns, some years ago(directed by her elder sister Natasha Karugire. “It was my sister Natasha’s vision to bring this story to the big screen. She kept bringing it up in family discussions and if there was one thing we all agreed on, it was the fact that the characters would either make or break the movie,” Kamuntu explains in a bid to justify her role in 27 Guns. “When it came to the role to the role of my mum, the people she thought of did not quite fit the profile and so I jokingly volunteered much to my sister’s excitement. The auditions were daunting but I played one scene and got the part.” As part of the preparations, Kamuntu had to closely study her mum and read her book several times to deliver the role with the desired precision and efficacy.

She reflectively recalls about this movie actor role: “There is this one scene when we were in exile in Sweden. I was about 5 or 6 years old and that was the first time I met my father. I had heard about him but had no memory of him. One day, this man walked into the door of our house and everyone started screaming with joy. I also started screaming not knowing why and then they told me that is your father.” It was an emotional moment. Kamuntu adds that: “The time in which the 27 Guns film is set, my mother was about my age with young children at the same stage as mine. So, it was easy to identify with her in that acting role.” She adds: “I imagined myself in that role as she was in exile with her husband in the bush fighting not knowing if he will ever come back. I gained a whole new level of respect for her.” She breaks down into tears whenever prompted to reflect on the bitter bred of exile. To perfectly act the Janet role in the movie, Kamuntu had to also interact with some of her mother’s best friends while in exile in Sweden.

At some point, the rehearsals became hectic and some crew members feared Kamuntu was going to become bored, irritated and pull out but she didn’t because this was something she loved and yet one day she and other crew members had to be at Entebbe Airport working out a challenging scene up to 2am. “I was acting with three young children one of whom was a baby. The children were so tired, the baby was crying and we just couldn’t go on. They had reached their limit. We stopped and had to continue the following day,” explains Diana Kamuntu when asked to recall the hardest part of the movie acting role she took up for her sister Natasha Karugire’s film (27 Guns).

Gratefully, her elder sister Natasha was director for the same film and the shooting period was an opportunity for Diana Kamuntu to realize there was still a lot she could still learn from or about her senior. “My sister was a very demanding director. We always knew she had an artistic side but this was a whole new Natasha I was seeing. Acting is hard work and I have great respect for actors.” Kamuntu also says throughout the film production process, she was able to realize that her country Uganda actually has better and more talented potential film actors than she always thought.

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In the same Magazine interview, the President’s daughter gives her views on beauty, style and the need for women to have good sense of style and appropriately wearing their makeup. That even when she likes maintaining her natural look, she likes the freedom to occasionally change her makeup style. “As a mum, I believe in dressing for comfort but keep it stylish. After my third child, I decided to get back in shape by working out in the gym whenever I could.”

She also makes reference to the general resentment her father, Gen YK Museveni, has towards women who wear artificial hair. “My father has an aversion to chemically-treated hair and for years, he tried to dissuade my sisters and I from it.” Gen Museveni wasn’t entirely successful at least not with Diana Kamuntu who carried on wearing her chemically-treated hair which she only abandoned after realizing the extent to which chemicals were negatively affecting her hair quality. She in the end found what she termed “an amazing hair dresser who uses organic treatments that changed” her hair and she never looked back. She asserts that looking back at life, she has opted to keep on the self-discovery journey as she grows deeper into adulthood. “I’m still trying to understand myself but in my work and life I’m trying to make a difference striving to be the change that I want to see and hopefully, many years from now, I will have made a positive impact on someone’s life by telling stories that need to be told.” (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us atmulengera2040@gmail.com).

 

 

 

 

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