Dokolo Woman Member of Parliament Cecilia Ogwal, regarded as the mother of the women movement in Uganda’s Parliament has expressed half hearted appreciation of the NRM government in the emancipation of women.
Ogwal who was speaking at the NRM ideological clinic appreciated the NRM’s affirmative action policies that enabled many women to attain education and leadership positions.
But Ogwal expressed reservations with the way the ruling party relegated women especially when it came to the most influential positions of leadership when the government took power in 1986.
Below are excerpts of Ogwal’s remarks.
Yesterday I was the Guest Speaker at the 20th 𝐍𝐑𝐌 𝐈𝐝𝐞𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐂𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐬 discussing the “Justification of Women Empowerment in the Administrative Space since 1986 (I edited it to since decolonization struggle) and their role in the development towards economic transformation”. It was indeed a bipartisan subject.
I reminded them that NRM started as a state organ, using public funds to build itself, although it was clear it had all the characteristics of a political party. I kept telling the country NRM was a party entrenching monolithic politics and denying other parties space. They have overcome the camouflage and now existing as a political party.
I told the enthusiastic Bazukulu in NRM that I’d also gone to their headquarters to check if they’re doing well.
I’ve continued to criticise the NRM Govt. My big brother President Museveni is on record for saying that Imat Cecilia been a political pain to him for ages and if he were a killer, I’d be dead. He’s also on record for saying it’s only Hon. Cecilia and Mayanja Nkangi who speak the truth. Meaning, it has always been the truth, but not Imat Cecilia, paining the President.
Back to the subjehct, Uganda adopted and domesticated the African Union’s Maputo Protocol, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. It guaranteed comprehensive rights to women including the right to take part in the political process, to social and political equality with men, improved autonomy in their reproductive health decisions, and an end to female genital mutilation. In Uganda we started the affirmative action.
Society has been unfair and unkind to women. A girl child is always told to do “soft courses” like secretarial, nursing etc and leave the likes of engineering to men.
After returning from school, girl go to kitchen to cook, clean and do other chores as boys go to play football or watch TV. This must stop. We need equality.
Women in Uganda have been previously restricted from public sphere activities. When I went to University in 1966, women were not being scholarship to go to Nairobi University to do courses BCom, engineering etc. The courses were said to be tough for ladies and when I chose BCOM, I was made to pick an alternative course to retreat to. Interestingly I excelled with upper class honors, together with Eva Mukasa, an achievement that even boys had not registered yet.
Women played significant role in the decolonization struggle but after the victory men gave themselves positions of presidents, prime ministers and women were to remain home to cook. During the many post independent liberation struggles women also participated. Like in the NRA bush war (no matter my disagreement with it) women were courageously taking food and medicine to their husbands and children in the bush but now we don’t see them. Men took charge after the victory.
I’m glad and allow me recognize that in 2018 President Museveni took the initiative to revive the Pan African Women’s Organization (PAWO). I applaud him. PAWO is now a branch of AU and we shall be handling conflict resolutions and related matters. I took the responsibility to open the Ugandan chapter and Ugandan has been elected as the continental SG.
As we celebrate the Women’s day, let’s invite the pioneers women like Joyce Mpanga, Mama Miria, Nyerere widow etc.
Let’s design political & policy programs to uplift women. There should be a paradigm shift for the rights of women. Let a woman chose for herself what to do or not to do.
Thank you Hon. Richard Todwong, Hon. Lydia Wanyoto & Hon. Emmanuel Dombo.