By John V Sserwaniko & E K Benj
Updated at 0612 EAT on Monday 14th November 2022
In our Special Series “Senior Citizens” today we bring you Proscovia Nalweyiso, a senior Ugandan military officer in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF). At the rank of General, she is the highest ranking female officer, in the Ugandan military
Information about her is hard to come by but we gathered a few things about her.
The grey haired elderly Major General Proscovia Nalweyiso serves as the President’s Private Secretary in charge of classified expenditures. That is an undisputed fact and she is the one to whom Museveni sends all manner of people that need to be facilitated or financially assisted or supported in any way yet they aren’t comfortable this becoming public knowledge. This places Nalweyiso in a position to handle hundreds of billions of shillings in every financial year. But the well groomed lady from Mukono correctly knows this is not her money but to be spent as assigned by the Principal. Nalweyiso has loyally served Museveni in this role and has never leaked a single secret for many years since the departure of powerful PPS Amelia Kyambadde. Because the H/E had known her for decades, when still working in State House Amelia was combining her PPS roles and the handling of Mzee’s classified expenditures the way Nalweyiso currently does.
When Amelia was leaving for politics in Mawokota in 2010, Museveni pleaded with her to stay fearing that turmoil would descend on State House in absence of a very strong technocrat in the PPS office but Amelia stood her ground. It was time to move on. As a trade off, she told Museveni she could identify for him someone who can do equally well at least in as far safely keeping his money and dispensing it as instructed was concerned. “She may not be that much educated in the formal sense but she is strong on values. She will keep your secrets and won’t steal your money because she isn’t a thief,” Amelia reportedly told Museveni about Nalweyiso. Nalweyiso, had always worked closely with Amelia as PPS. She was then private secretary to the H/E in charge of veterans and serving soldiers’ welfare and that of their spouses. “I have been working with her very closely and my observation is that she is calm, experienced and you won’t regret working with her in my absence,” Amelia further told the President. There was a room on level 4 of the President’s Office near Parliament where Amelia operated a strong room of sorts and would lock all Museveni’s classified monies there.
She was born on 24/6/1954 to Solome Nabyonga and Yusuf Ntambi in a family with 20 children.
Her mum hails from the aristocratic Sir Apollo Kaggwa family as one of the former Buganda Katikkiro’s paternal grandchildren.
Mzee Ntambi died a few years ago and hailed from Ntenjeru Sub County Katutu village in
Mukono district. Nalweyiso lives in Ntawo village on the outskirts of
Mukono town and has willed to be buried there in her fortified
She grew up in a fishing community near Katosi. In her early 60s, Nalweyiso strongly believes in Kabakaship and never denounced it even when disagreements reigned between Mengo & Kampala.
Gen Nalweyiso is modestly educated and went to Bishop Primary School whereafter she trained as a typist in Nansana. She considers herself one of Uganda’s
oldest and most experienced typists. As a teenager she walked from
home in Nakulabye to Nansana for typist training. After the Nansana training, she went to Arua and stayed with elder brother Kayongo who was a soldier and stayed in Bondo barracks. This was early 1970s and
Nalweyiso was in her mid teens. She tried to join police while in Arua
but Kayongo discouraged her. Kayongo’s job saw her live in different
places e.g. Koboko, Moyo, Bondo and Bugoloobi.
Ethnic tensions in Amin’s army resulted into Kayongo being killed, something that meant
more suffering for Nalweyiso. She had to look after Kayongo’s children with whom she briefly fled to Congo after Amin removal. When normalcy returned, Nalweyiso returned from Congo and lived at her mum’s place
in Matuga at a place called Mwerwere. While there she became vocal and took part in the 1980 elections on the DP side. Besides the DP politics, Nalweyiso got a typist job at Mwerwere Primary School but
would sometimes serve as a teacher or bursar for the school. This earned her some extra pay.
This is where the NRA war found Nalweyiso
who was also serving as DP branch treasurer. “She hated Obote and marketed DP mostly amongst fellow teachers and parents,” recalls a childhood friend. She was among the many Baganda who never forgave
Obote for exiling their king-Kabaka Mutesa II-in 1966. “I saw DP as a party with chance to block Obote. We were desperate to prevent Obote from becoming president again. It was a sham election; we voted at
Mwerwere but soldiers came from Bombo and took the ballot boxes,”
Nalweyiso said in an earlier interview. After elections, the DP leadership frustrated the youth when it failed to have any plan B.
Nalweyiso was among those frustrated youths who embraced Museveni’s
NRA war with open hands.
She liked the fact that NRA openly embraced
all regardless of party affiliation. She often reported political intelligence info regarding Obote’s UNLA to Gen Matayo Kyaligonza’s
Black Bombers barracks which was the nearest to Mwerwere village which
later became unsafe and the Nalweyisos quit to live in NRA camps. “Our
work as secret committees initially was to collect food for the fighters we didn’t know. We could leave the food somewhere for them to pick it. My work was to mobilize residents to contribute food.
Hajji Kigongo and Kahinda Otafiire were my first contacts in NRA. I often
brought them to address our supporters as NRA,” she recalled in a past
Red Pepper interview. Asked on when she first met Museveni, Nalweyiso
answered back then: “Obote’s men had attacked us at a place called
Busikiri near Mwerwere. He [M7] was on his way to check on his men at Black Bombers. He was being carried on a vesper. I didn’t know he knew me but he called out my name… He had noticed me I think in one of the meetings for the secret committee chairpersons. He said “my
chairperson, what is happening?” I told him we are under attack and he
said I can see they are coming.”
In 1982, she was given more responsibility in Gombe Sub County as a mobilizer for NRA. Later on she wrote to Maj Gen Fred Rwigyema asking to be enrolled in NRA
training school in Bulemezi. “Training was difficult and we were less than three women there,” she recalls. She never consulted her parents and it’s not clear how they reacted on their daughter joining rebels.
“It was risky but it was a duty because it was the country at stake. I
was okay because I had at least lived in the barracks before.” After
the Bulemezi training she was enrolled as a staff at the training school and still mobilized food for the fighters. In 1983 she was
appointed to head NRA women wing and closely worked with Night Nabunya
(Political Commissar) and Ms Nadduli as the admin. The trio received
civilians fleeing UNLA brutality. Other peers were Gertrude Njuba, Capt Olive Zizinga and Joy Mirembe. Whereas most women did mostly political mobilization, Nalweyiso combined it with participation in
She had previously worked in Kasese and later on Bombo General Headquarters as Commandant Women’s wing and served under all Commanders up to Gen Aronda. She 1st joined State House in 2001
originally as private secretary on security and defense. She was also
UPDF coordinator in State House, a role previously held by James
Mugira and Maj Bisangwa.
In February 2019, in a promotions exercise that involved over 2,000 men and women of the UPDF, she was promoted from the rank of Major General to Lieutenant General
In 1974, while still a civilian, Nalweyiso married an army officer. She later separated from her husband. She is the mother of four children.
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