John Nagenda’s fallout with the First Family has been traced to his discussion with American government officials in which he described the First Lady, Janet Museveni, as “a very extreme woman” who was behind the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and President Museveni as being “quite intemperate”, which means too extreme.

The revelations are in diplomatic cables sent from the US Embassy in Kampala by Ambassador Jerry Lanier to the American government, following a discussion between Nagenda, a senior presidential advisor on media and public relations, and US Embassy political officer, Aaron Simpson, in 2009.

The cables were leaked by whistleblower website, WikiLeaks. The releases will not only cause embarrassment to the American Embassy but also offer an insight into what could have triggered the fallout between Nagenda and the Musevenis, who could have taken the descriptions in bad faith.

The releases also tie in well with Nagenda’s candid interview with The Sunday Monitor of September 4, in which he openly spoke out on Museveni’s 25-year leadership, saying he had become “more autocratic”, “mischievous” and “no longer listens”. In the same interview, Nagenda said the First Lady is the only opposition voice in Cabinet.

The interview was the crescendo to the spat between Nagenda and Museveni, in which the President, while addressing teachers at State House, Entebbe, August 27, said “unlike some of those who engage in arrogance over Mabira, I do not drink alcohol or go to bars. I always think about developing Uganda for the well-being of Ugandans.”

President Museveni appeared to be reacting to Nagenda’s position against his (Museveni’s) insistence on giving away part of Mabira forest for sugarcane growing.

Nagenda, in his next column in Saturday Vision on September 3, admitted thus: “Your columnist certainly and unashamedly enjoys a drink – come to that, many kinds of the stuff, each having its own place in the hierarchy of a meal. Rather than a bar, I repair to my seat at our table at the club.

A drink with others brings camaraderie where many things can be discussed, where for that moment they feel equals. I recommend it. I doubt, however, that I can convince some persons. Let’s admit: Equal-ness can form dangerous expectations!”

According to the cables, Nagenda said the First Lady was behind the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill that called for death penalty for any person convicted of ‘aggravated’ homosexuality.

Sub-titled ‘One advisor against many’, the cables say “Nagenda said President Museveni is “quite intemperate” when it comes to homosexuality, but that the President “will likely recognise the dangers of passing the anti-homosexuality legislation”.

Nagenda did not have any kind words for the then minister for Ethics and Integrity, Nsaba Buturo, who was one of those at the forefront of the bill, together with legislator David Bahati. In the cables, Nagenda, famed for being forthright, described Buturo as a “very bad guy” responsible for a campaign of mass arrests (known by the Swahili term panda gari) during the early 1980s under the Obote II regime, while serving as Kampala’s District Commissioner.

According to the cables, Nagenda said Buturo was using the anti-homosexuality legislation to redefine himself and “will do anything in his power to be a populist”.
Nagenda also narrated how he threatened to quit his regular column in the Saturday Vision because they couldn’t tolerate his stand on the bill.

“Nagenda said the New Vision – which is edited by a Dutch national [Els de Temmerman is a Belgian national-Editor] – initially refused to run his column and agreed only after he threatened to never again write for the newspaper. Nagenda said he felt morally obligated to speak out against the legislation, and accused those behind it of obfuscating differences between homosexuality, rape, incest, and pedophilia,” says the cable.

In another cable, Museveni, while in a meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs Johnnie Carson on October 24, 2009, said Uganda is not interested in a “war with homosexuals” and agreed that the proposed legislation goes “too far”.

“After learning that the bill was submitted to Parliament by a member of his own party, Museveni said he would discourage the legislation in a discussion”.

In yet another meeting between Foreign Affairs minister, Sam Kutesa and US Embassy officials, the minister said the bill would die a natural death, while Buturo, who was facing insurmountable pressure for his views, appeared to have succumbed when he said Cabinet would come up with a watered-down version.

Standing by his views

In an interview with The Observer on Saturday, Nagenda admitted holding the said meeting with US Embassy officials and added that he maintains the views he shared with them.

“Yes; one or two words may be slightly different. I held a conversation with the political officer and it’s an accurate reflection in the sense that I said that the President is very strongly anti-gay, but I doubted that he would support such a bill. I did accurately predict that he wouldn’t support the bill. It was extreme,” Nagenda said.

“On the First Lady – it’s a long time ago – but what I meant is that she holds very strong views where she sees morality.”

Nagenda also said he advised the donors that their threat to cut aid because of the bill was “very stupid” because Ugandans would think they were out to fight the country, “so people would dig in their heels more by supporting the bill”.

On his views on Buturo, Nagenda said: “I know him quite well and twice, I wrote in my column that he should apologise to the people of Uganda about being head of panda gari. We all make mistakes, but he should apologise for his part,” Nagenda said, adding: “I don’t remember saying he is a ‘very bad guy’, but I remember saying that he was at the campaign. Nobody can say it was a good thing.”

On his recent interview with Sunday Monitor and its curious timing, Nagenda said: “Things have been moving, so I thought it was time to speak out. I did it because the moment was opportune.”

WikiLeaks has leaked a number of revealing cables between government and US embassy officials, some shockingly giving away deep-seated feelings about the President. Nagenda said: “The people they attribute them to must be able to stand up for what they said.”

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+2 #1 kizito 2011-09-11 18:48
Well stated. i cannot stand m7 the only good thing he did was to attend the funeral service of Mrs Lule the man who did the fund raising for him short of that he is the worst president Uganda has ever had!
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0 #2 Kayumba 2011-09-12 04:41
It is a shame or Nagenda after all these years enjoying the goodies under M7 he is now talking nonsense!!

It seems he supports gay-ism in Uganda which makes me wonder whether his old age is responsible or this maladaptive behavior. His a disgruntled old fellow who should be ignored; people often loose their bearing at such an age.
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0 #3 John M Amooti 2011-09-12 05:48
One of the reasonS i always buy the Saturday Vision is to read John Nagenda's master piece and well orchestrated column.

To those of us who are Literature scholars, but now lack many avenues of enjoying our poetic jargon-albeit in an informative and narrative prose, find solace in reading Nagenda's writing. but now am not sure if my man's brevity in blending the different stylistic devices has encumbered his moral expedience to reason out that when you have a disagreement with your boss, it makes prudent sense that you raise your grievance with him -i doubt if Nagenda did that -otherwise matters would not have grown into a crescendo-that they are. Just piece Mr. diction!
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+2 #4 Tukamwesiiga Abel 2011-09-12 06:01
Comments above by a Kayumba ...shame on you Nagenda...are ok, but we should all know that M7 has metamorphosed from a pro people and revolurionary to a despot, corrupt,like Russia's Stalin, Libya's Gadaffi, Zimbabwe's Mugabe, d even worse than Uganda's Amin and Obote.

Yes, like all the Ugandans who gave whole sale love to the NRM and M7 got deluded with this persoality change, John Nagenda as ahuman being also believed [rightly?/ wrongly?] that M7 was a liberator. We all knw that it was J. Nagenda who accompanied the former Buganda crown Prince Ronald Muteebi to visit the NRA liberated areas during the NRA guerrilla warafare against the Tito Okello junta.

So who has acted in a treacherous manner to the other?

The Opposition Parties which are being muzzled by the establishment, an establishment, with a reincarnation of Panda gari" which is even more vicious that the Obote 2 one, that duped the people right from its inception.

To John Nagenda, like all the people of Uganda,...i do say, welcome to the real World of Uganda under the despotic rule of our former lier as our liberator. At least Nagenda, unlike some of us have shared alot on personal lever with M7 and can empirically tell us who he.

No guess works. So better late than never. At least Nagenda, like Besigye who also shared alot cryptically with M7 also revealed alot about M7 the man. We are now in good position to know who he is.
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-1 #5 Demo 2011-09-12 10:34
Those bashing Nagenda for speaking out are either in deep slumber, have their mounths stuffed with ill gotten wealth from the regime or tribal bootlickers. Museveni is no longer the man we supported in the 80s and early 90s!

It is only normal for a mentally sound person to change their mind on anything. Do you just continue supporting a deluded man just for the sake of it? For some of us who have seen the light, we should encourage many more to speak out.

This country is bigger than one man under whose leadership a lot of blood was spilt under the guise of liberation yet the real agenda was accumulation of wealth for family and inlaws
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-2 #6 DAVID 2011-09-12 17:47
Indeed you're what you described those who don't agree with you, politically. In otherwords, you're a living dead.

Unlike most of you who don't want to work and therefore forlornly hope for state handouts, i need to inform you that most of the distinguished ladies and gentlemen supporting M7 are hardworking folks who're protecting their hard earned wealth (through sweat and toil) from you, the idlers, only good at mouthing latrine stuff.

For the last 25 years, what has the "president's barking dog", Nagenda, been doing to speak out the "truth"?, does he first discover the "truth" after being rendered redundant?, why a hell doesn't he resign?

Now that Nagenda's talk is strengthening your opposition cause, why isn't he joining your rather fractured and inconsequential opposition groups a la FDC,UPC,DP,JEEM A etc etc?
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-1 #7 kabayekka 2011-09-13 02:00
Interesting how Mrs Museveni looks at gay people as worst christian sinners than those who commit adultry or steal government funds. This Christian Mugabe thing where he kills those who oppose him and gives asylum to murderers of his own choice.

The great Christian missionary of Rhodesia or Zimbabwe wrote well about his adultry that deserved death. He said that he enjoyed sex with African women in his travels in Africa 1880-1900 like King Solomon of Israel. In other words he preached what he was not. Not bad though. Many Africans turned to a Christian God and left African polygammy.
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0 #8 gracekimoran 2011-09-13 02:43
A wiseman once said, "You can trust anyone but dont trust the devil inside them". I beleive Naggenda applied this. Some one has got to speak up.Every body is scared of talking abt M7 and Janet. I beleive john when he says Jannet is an extreme person.
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0 #9 Robert 2011-09-13 04:17
Another political condom has been used and dumped. The list is endless : mulondo, Kazibwe(she was re-used as expected),Buken ya, Bidandi , Seya etc.
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0 #10 dixon 2011-09-13 07:08
All things come to an end and for JN,his is justified.someo ne really needed to talk to M7.
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0 #11 Demo 2011-09-13 10:02
Well for your information, most Ugandans including myself work for 8-12hrs or more and for 6 days a week! I might also be behind news, I did not know that our government gives out handouts to critics like me.

David, if you had a business like me, kids, relatives and friends you care about, you would choose stability and continuity not unsustainable dictatorial projects like the one you support.

Dictatorships are not sustainable, the end is always disasterous. Just look around, Zaire under Mobutu, Uganda under Amin, Egypt under Mubarak, Libya under Gadafi, Somalia under Siad Barre, Zim under Mugabe. At least Moi knew when to jump ship.

Back to Nagenda, I still dont understand your beef! Many of us at one time or another supported Museveni until we discovered what a liar he was when he changed the constitution to enable him become a life president.

I am not ashamed about it. Making decisions and choices is what makes us human beings not apes! I have no obligation to support anybody for life. But not sure whether all human beings have this ability coz there are people who stuck with Hitler, Mubutu, Amin etc till the very end, so I might be wasting my precious time on somebody high on the dictatorship opium..
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0 #12 Ndiwulila 2011-09-13 14:07
Hehehehe... a little bit of spilt beans and people are now dancing themselves lame. I don't see anything to wrack your brains about a man's opinion.

Every one is entiltled to their opinion and this is what democracy is all about.

But to allude that M7 is worse than Amin shows either how shallow, uninformed, ignorant or deluded some of us are.

Under a dictatorship,on e would not have the chance to say what they feel and live to see the next day. papers would not publish their lugambo freely and remain open.

I'm not saying Uganda's perfect but It is a much better place to live in than it was (and I don't expect much from those born just "yesterday", who rely on stories).

If we could just get down to some real work rather than roumour mongering, politicking and hating, we would see and enjoy the fruits of our labour like others are currently doing - despite the hard times.

Just wait until the EA community is revived and you will realise just how lazy and unproductive we are.

The world does not owe any of us a thing.
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0 #13 Demo 2011-09-13 15:40
Has a dictator got to be worse than Amin before we can speak out? In both regimes we have seen extrajudicial killings, in Amin's regime there was no wanton stealing which is the order of the day today!

No one is Amin's advocate, but a dictator is a dictator, it is your responsibility to decipher who is worse but they all remain dictators.

And somebody has the intuition to imagine that whoever comments on this blog was born yesterday! You talk about the rest of East Africa leaving us behind, do they also have thieving life presidents like we do?

Do not despise Ugandans, we are a hardworking nation and that is why we are asking for better leadership to take us to the next level. I am pretty much sure you think that the Egyptian are Libyan people are idlers because they have pushed out their dictators!

Ndiwula learn to aspire for greater things, dont get stuck in history, the rest of the world is moving on. Mbu twebaka kutuulo!! Continue snoring
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0 #14 Robert 2011-09-14 03:49
How do you productivity? in the current situation, do you think you can be more productive than before when inflation was relatively low, there were good terms trade...... and alike?

These guys are on a big thing, building their own 'stomach'. if they really care about people and peasants as they say, why then fight their own initiatives; like the Bugishu BCU.

how much do you need to work in order to buy enough sugar for a month? even if its business, what strategy and capabilities would you enhance to compete when PESTEL factors are at worst?.

so instead of keeping quiet and mobilising us to work hard, why dont we first remove barriers to enhance productivity. what you call political roumor mongering is wisdom to organise society. thank you.
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0 #15 wodgot 2011-09-14 10:17
It's extremely paradoxical for Janet Kataaha Museveni and her husband to castigate homosexuality while turning a blind eye to incest in their own house.

Edith Gasana Kutesa who's the wife of Sam Kutesa, is a biological sister of Janet kataaha Museveni the wife of the President.

Can anyone out there convince me if it does not amount to incest for Janet Museveni to approve of Muhoozi Museveni marrying Charlotte Kutesa?

I think Mp Baati jumped the gun, he should have tabled a Bill on incest before that of homosexuality.
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0 #16 DAVID 2011-09-14 15:19
You just have a warped mindset. Its not that i meant that critics are given state handouts but i meant that the likes of yourself are just "political fortune hunters" only sour-grapping out of your frustration thanks to your mental laziness.

In fact you're lucky that in Uganda, you work 8 to 12 hours for 6 days per week, but are you aware that in the so called developed countries, the folks there work for over 12 hours for 7 days and later remain with nothing!. That is after exhorbitant taxation and household bills.

So bwana Demo, is it M7 at the helm of these countries' political power?, and unless you're rather blind and maybe insane, isn't there stability in Uganda?, aren't people building houses, sending their children to schools and even setting up vast businesses?

Indeed its sheer insanity on your side to compare the M7 regime with the likes of Gaddafi, Mobutu, Mubarak etc. What you deliberately refuse to accept is that elections are periodically held and your choices are thoroughly hammered hands down.

Otherwise, if you purport that they're sham or rigged (as you may be insinuating), why a hell don't you recall your opposition ilk from the parliament and local councils since they also passed through the same means?!

It was your choice to once support M7 and again your choice to jump ship. You see, that's what democracy is all about. Even the devil was once an angel of God and it later turned against Him, so there you are, my friend!

FYI, learn to respect other peoples' choices or decisions. Its your bloody choice not to support M7 and so keep it to yourself and your family.

If Nagenda discovered that worst side of M7, it would have been honourable for him to resign and go to sleep instead of insulting the folks who are serving his former boss.

So, Nagenda indeed deserves what Tamale Mirundi abused him. Remember, he has no constituency and he's just speaking his own thoughts which you now take to be "Biblical"!, poor you.
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0 #17 DAVID 2011-09-14 15:32
You must have been a flop during your school days. Ndiwulila just gave an example of Amin but you instead ended up twisting his comment(s)!, kitalo nyo.

If your litmus test of gauging dictatorships is extra-judicial killings, then my friend, you also need to indict the western leaders amongst them, especially the David Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama.

Otherwise, during the six month Libyan Campaign of bombing the hapless Libyans, weren't these extra-judicial killings?, which dictator or tyrant in Africa is worse than the trio?

Lastly, stop deluding yourself that the "Arab Spring" which led to the deposition of the trio North African leaders a la Ben Ali, Mubarak and Gaddafi is about democracy.

I need to inform you that democracy in the Arab world is just a myth. The Arab Spring in North Africa particularly in Libya was engineered by the west to grab the resources of those once prosperous nations. So Chief,its high time you emigrate from Lala land.
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