By Frank Gashumba
When a child is born, they are breastfed, helped to seat, stand and later walk. The help is inevitable; as it helps the kid hit the ground running. It can only be termed miraculous if a child skips any of the above stages and becomes successful in their endeavours. It is imperative that we relate this analogy while indulging into Rebecca Kadaga’s rise to stardom in relation to women emancipation in Uganda.
The framers of the 1995 constitution thought it wise to draft an affirmative action policy in education and political representation for vulnerable and marginalised groups that included women, PWDs, youth etc. The main reason for this policy was to offer a platform that could help the disadvantaged groups compete favourably against those deemed advantaged.
Without meandering too much into the affirmative action policy in its broader form, let’s concentrate on women. To up lift girl child education, girls in senior six were added an extra 1.5 points to enable them compete against male dominance in education. You’ll however note that these points only apply at S.6, they help a girl child access university. The moment she enters university, there’s no more advantage for a girl student. She competes equally just like all other students. After university, the same girl isn’t in anyway favored in the labour market or any other field. Competition is open.
You may wonder why I’m bringing out all this. The point I’m trying to drive at is the fact that Kadaga and other women representatives in parliament have failed to understand the policy of women emancipation. Let’s zero down on the real issues.
Hon. Kadaga has represented Kamuli district in parliament since the operationization of the affirmative action policy in 1995. She has basically made the position a no go area for any woman in Kamuli district. Should we therefore assume Hon. Kadaga isn’t emancipated yet? Her actions and practice seem to suggest so, otherwise, why would she still be holding onto the position? Why not leave other women in Kamuli come up too? Is she the only capable and able woman to represent Kamuli district? Well, a host of questions, answers, myeee!!!
It is safe to say the affirmative action policy on women representation was intended to offer a strong start-up gear for the less privileged or disadvantage women in the field of leadership. Therefore, it would be noble for any one in such a position to uplift themselves and move to a different level. The youth MPs have ably demonstrated this. Gerald Karuhanga joined the 9th parliament as the Western youth representative, see where he is now, an MP elect representing Ntungamo Municipality. That’s what we call emancipation! Karuhanga understood that the youth MP docket was only meant to uplift him to greater heights. Another classic example is Evelyn Anite. She’s been the Northern youth MP in the 9th parliament, she however won herself a slot in the 10th parliament as Koboko Municipality MP. The list goes on. Why not Kadaga?
Just the way she doesn’t want to relinquish the speakership position, Kadaga has proven to be not only a danger to women emancipation in Kamuli but also the success of the affirmative action policy in Uganda. I dare anyone to present a genuine reason she should be fronted as a measure for the success of the affirmative action policy. I personally consider her a political retard. She has for ages failed the test, she can’t navigate through the stormy weather without help! She’s still the fragile and disadvantaged woman that must hold onto a woman representative position to survive. Look at the portfolios she’s held, but still stuck in the woman MP seat.
SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT -2011-2016
DEPUTY SPEAKER 2001 – 2006
MINISTER PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS1999 – 2001
MINISTER OF STATE COMMUNICATION 1998 – 1999
MINISTER OF STATE, REGIONAL COOPERATION 1996 – 1998
MEMBER OF NRC 1989 – 1996
Of course Kadaga isn’t lone in the basket, still on affirmative action, isn’t she emancipated yet? If someone has helped you get a job, should you call the same individual to help you get promoted? This emancipation idea was like a kick start, it can’t be permanent. By now, Kadanga would not be standing as a Woman MP for Kamuli, with that CV of hers, she would be battling it out with men because of the empowerment she has been given. Do you guys remember Eng. Winnie Byanyima, she never competed with women, she always competed with men and she would give then a run for their money.
By the way many terrible things have happened to women in Uganda during her 10 years of Parliament, i.e Uganda Police pressing breasts of Ingrid, undressing them, suffocating them on Police trucks and she has consistently been quiet as her fellow women are being oppressed. In her capacity as the woman emancipator and Speaker, what did she do to the above cases, not even speaking out as her fellow women were being harassed every day. To me she will be remembered as the most travelled Speaker in the history of Uganda. This woman flies like a Pilot.
Don’t be fooled, the likes of Kadaga are the real emancipation saboteurs, though they purport to be the champions of the same.
Do we therefore need a speaker from that world? Well, that’s a question for you to think about.