Kampala, Uganda | AGNES E NANTABA | Charles Rwomushana has often times been named a controversial political analyst for his contentious remarks and analysis of political issues in the country. He is a former Guild President of Makerere University, RDC of Pader district and Head of Economics and Research at Internal Security Organisation (ISO). It’s because of his remarks for and against the current government; one that he once served that has led many to refer to him as controversial. But Rwomushana maintains his impartiality.
“I don’t support or oppose anybody but I relate with state power and its dynamics,” says Rwomushana, also adding, “Therefore this notion of supporting this and that is for part-time thinkers.”
Perhaps his relationship with power dates to as young as only six years. Rwomushana recalls mobilising about 100 very young boys about his age and training them in military formation. At the age of six, he says, he was the leader of the young boys group, “very organised and never threatened by external forces”.
At the time, his home was near a landing site in Rukungiri district and by the time Tanzanian forces extended to the area, they found the young boys ready in military formation. The group would then join the force to patrol the area; guiding the soldiers on the direction of wild animals in the area.
“We would go with them, hunt and shoot and as the leader, I would be given some parts of the animals in appreciation,” he recalls.
He recalls when one of the children was shot as the soldiers battled hippos that had come to rescue their mate. That was before Rwomushana even started Primary one. He later joined Bugangari Primary School. He recalls that although he should have been Anglican, he was baptized Catholic in a hurried process because there was a cholera outbreak and a fear of dying without the First Holy Sacrament. Many people died. As other priests fled the area, one of them braved the deadly outbreak to stay behind and baptize as many people as possible such that at the time of death, they would pass on as believers in Jesus Christ. Rwomushana and his mother survived and he resumed school. He later joined Bugangari Secondary School where, hesays, as early as senior two, he developed the ambition to become guild president of the oldest university in Uganda; Makerere University.
“It’s at this school that I became politically active,” he says.
He later joined Mbarara High School because the school always engaged in student fights with Ntare School and he wanted to take part in the next school war. Unfortunately it did not happen while he was there. Two years later, Rwomushana joined Makerere University and a month into the system realised that many students had difficulty getting transport and writing materials even when they were on government sponsorship. He convinced the government to provide Shs10 million as a pilot project to help students. For this cause, the students named him “chairman of the needy students” something that grew his popularity at the university. A year later, he was elected guild president. His political ambitions kept growing and Rwomushana campaigned to represent Rujumbura constituency in Rukungiri in the 1994 Constituent Assembly race.
“I campaigned using door to door and was the first youth and very poor to win a free and fair general election,” he says. But his winning streak did not last. He was defeated when he tried to join parliament in 1996.
President Museveni appointed him DRC for Pader district after which he was deployed back to State House.
“I was handling political issues that would culminate into overthrowing of the constitution,” he says, “I also handled monitoring government systems.”
Rwomushana is one of the many children of Winnie Safira Tumubwine and Joseph Rwakinwa (RIP) of Rukungiri district. He was named Charles after a one Charles Sonko, a guitarist who played a welcoming song after his birth in the bush.