Childhood & Early Life
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was born on 15 August 1944, in Ntungamo, Uganda, in a Banyankole family of cattle herders. He grew up with a brother, Calbe Akandwanaho and sister, Violet Kajubiri.
Museveni attended Kyamate Elementary School, Mbarara High School and Ntare School. He became a born-again Christian during his high school years.
In 1967, Museveni moved to Tanzania to begin studies at the University of Dar es Salaam, where he went on to study political science and economics, gaining his bachelor’s degree in 1970.
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In 1970, Museveni joined the Ugandan intelligence service, serving President Dr. Apolo Milton Obote.
In 1971, during the military coup led by Major General Idi Amin, Museveni fled Uganda for Tanzania along with many other figures from within the deposed government, including former President Obote.
During Amin’s rule, Museveni sided with exiled resistance forces in Tanzania. While living there in exile, he also briefly served as a lecturer in a co-operative college in Moshi, in northern Tanzania.
In 1973, Museveni shifted his allegiances, leaving the most mainstream groups in opposition of Obote and forming the Front for National Salvation.
Between 1981 and 1986, during the Ugandan Bush War, Museveni and his allies moved to the rural southern regions of Uganda and formed the Popular Resistance Army. Together, they organized a rebellion aimed to overthrow the Obote regime and the Obote-backed Uganda National Liberation Army.
On 6 February 1981, Museveni and his fellow resistance forces attacked an army installation in central Mubende.
On 27 July 1985 Obote’s government fell due to the military coup led by Tito Okello. Museveni and the NRM/A party were angered by the power grab, claiming that their own efforts had been hijacked by Okello and the UNLA.
On 20 January 1986, Idi Amin’s supporters, aided by Zairean military troops, entered Ugandan territory with the aim of overthrowing Okello. Within two days, this incursion had routed government troops from Kampala. As a result, Museveni was able to lead his own faction to victory over the capital city, overthrowing Okello’s government.
On 29 January 1986, Museveni was sworn in as Uganda’s new president. During his inaugural address, he said, “This is not a mere change of guard. It is a fundamental change.”
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Beginning in 1987, Museveni brought Uganda to participate in the IMF Economic Recovery Program, with the aim of creating economic growth, attracting investment, promoting trade and generating free and sustainable trade.
In 1989, Amnesty International released a report of extreme human rights violations being committed in Uganda by Museveni’s NRA troops.
In 1996, Museveni was re-elected, winning 75.5 percent of the vote. International observers assessed that the elections were carried out legitimately.
In 2001, Museveni again won re-election, beating out rival Kizza Besigye with 69 percent of the vote. This time, Dr. Besigye petitioned the Supreme Court of Uganda, claiming that the elections were not fairly carried out, but his case was overturned.
Museveni was elected for the third time in 2006, garnering 59 percent of the vote. Again, some questions of malfeasance in the voting process were raised; nonetheless, the vote was assessed as having been legitimate.
Awards & Achievements
In 1994, Yoweri Museveni was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the first of many honorary degrees he would receive from universities and the first of two such awards from United States institutions.
Between 2003 and 2011, Yoweri Museveni received five additional honorary doctorate degreesThese included a Doctor of Laws degree from the Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda; a Doctor of Divinity degree from the Latin University of Theology in the United States; an honorary degree from Turkey’s Fatih University; a Doctor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Uganda; and a Doctor of Literature degree from the University of Dar es Salaam.
According to the Museveni’s biography on the State House of Uganda website, one of his favorite pastimes is cattle herding, which he does in Kisozi and Rwakitura.
While Museveni was celebrated in Western countries early in his career, he has come under heavy criticism for his extremely anti-gay stance. Under Museveni, an anti-homosexuality Act was passed in 2014, which made homosexuality illegal and punishable by life-long jail sentences.