By Kampala Post Reporter
President Yoweri Museveni has described President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa as a freedom fighter, a very active businessman and a person who deeply appreciates the African heritage.
“I later learnt that President Ramaphosa was a very active businessman, a freedom fighter and a person who deeply appreciates the African heritage because of his love for Ankole cows,” he said.
The President made the remarks at the traditional wedding of Bridget Birungi Rwakairu, daughter of Peace Ruhindi Rwakairu and the late Shadrack Rwakairu, to Andile Ramaphosa son of President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa. The ceremony was characterized by the fusion of Kikiga traditions of Uganda and those of the Venda tribe of South Africa from where the groom hails.
The colourful ceremony took place yesterday at the home of former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Patrick Amama Mbabazi in Nyonyi Gardens in Kololo, Kampala. Mr. Amama Mbabazi and his wife Jacqueline contributed to the up-bringing of Bridget Birungi Rwakairu.
The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, led a very powerful delegation of over 150 persons to the function that was also attended by many high level dignitaries from Uganda and abroad.
President Museveni, on behalf of his wife, Mrs. Janet Museveni and all the people of Uganda, congratulated the couple – Andile Ramaphosa and Bridget Birungi Rwakairu – for finding each other during their studies in China and for practically linking the Great Lakes Region and South Africa. He also commended Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi and his wife Jacqueline for their contribution in the upbringing of Bridget Birungi Nyakairu whose father Shadrack Rwakairu was brutally murdered during the struggle to oust the Amin regime in the 1970s.
Mr. Museveni informed the gathering that on account of bad politics, over 800 Ugandans were extra-judicially killed between 1966 and 1986 adding that those atrocities created social crisis to a big number of orphans and widows. He said that when the NRM took over power in 1986, an attempt was made to manage the crisis by setting up institutional schools for the children of the fallen fighters in Nakasongola, Jinja, Masindi and a Kadogo’s School in Mbarara. He said that because of the overwhelming numbers families, the next of kin had to lend a hand in bringing up orphans.
“Therefore, I congratulate all those who contributed to the bringing up of the children of the late Rwakairu. I congratulate Amama Mbabazi and Jacqueline for quietly contributing to this noble cause,” he said.
The President further commended the widow, Peace, mother of Bridget for her resilience and being a Christian oriented lady.
Speaking about how he met President Ramaphosa, Mr. Museveni informed guests that he gave the South African President 43 Ankole cattle that have multiplied into a huge herd both in Kenya and South Africa.
The President who wished the couple a happy marriage further thanked Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi and his wife Jacqueline for inviting him and his wife, Mrs. Janet Museveni, to the ceremony of one of the children of the freedom fighters he had not known. Mr. Museveni contributed some cows to the couple and pledged to support the widow, Peace Ruhindi Rwakairu.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, on his part, thanked the people of Uganda for according him and his entourage a warm welcome. He also thanked President Museveni and his wife for accepting their invitation to attend the ceremony.
“I thank you for contributing in giving me a daughter in-law because you stood with the family and today we were handed a daughter in-law by the family and by no less a person than the President of Uganda himself and the First Lady. So I say thank you very much. You have made me very proud,” he said.
Mr. Ramaphosa further commended President Museveni for continuing to be a visionary leader for Africa adding that the continent is in need of a great vision. He said that President Museveni is one of those leaders who continue to advocate a particular vision of unity, progress and development for Africa.
“And we, as South Africans, thank you for the stand you have always taken,” he noted.
The South African leader further hailed President Museveni and the people of Uganda for the moral, political, material, military and diplomatic support given to them during their struggle to remove the apartheid regime.
“You were so magnanimous, so generous; you acted in solidarity with us in the darkest days of our struggle. We cannot ever thank you enough as the people of Uganda and we say once again that thank you very much for the support you gave us,” he said.
President Ramaphosa also thanked President Museveni for the 43 cattle he gave him that have now become a tourist attraction in Kenya and a huge heard in South Africa.
President Ramaphosa commended the renowned Ugandan businessman, Charles Mbiire, for culturally cementing the relationship between the 2 families.
The Chairperson of the organising committee for the ceremony and also Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, congratulated the couple, especially Andile Ramaphosa, for tracing his roots back to the Great Lakes’ Region describing the move as a heavy blow to colonial balkanization whose interest was to keep Africans apart.
“You are now bridging and bringing Africa together and your example should be emulated by many others,” he counselled.
Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda also congratulated the couple for adding value to the excellent historical relationship existing between the people of Uganda and South Africa.
“Your getting together to build a home will further consolidate these ties and we are very happy about that,” he said.