Proscovia Alengot Oromait a journalism student at Uganda Christian University, born 1st Jan 1992, is a Member of Parliament for Usuk county (Kumi district) and according to Forbes’ Mfonobong Nsene, she is a young power woman in Africa.
She is the youngest MP and is also among the most dormant female MPs that have spoken less than 5 times since voted into power. [Daily Monitor, 2 September 2013] Even after this story, Alengot has not spoken on the floor of Parliament. So it poses some questions on whether she is indeed exercising any power.
There is also attendance of plenary sessions, which I don’t want to be very strict about because she is a university student and I know how that goes. However, her attendance committee meetings is lacking. I question whether she was just a PR stunt for the NRM government, in order to fulfill their affirmative action, or if this is a sign about the people’s understanding of what Parliament stands for in this country. Because to be fair, she was voted into power. She was trusted to represent by the people of Usuk.
Will she, like most politicians in Uganda, want a second term? Would she want a second term as woman MP for Kumi or would she return as MP for Usuk county? Perhaps she would want to return as a Youth Representative. As a young woman, the options for Alengot are limitless. But, if I was a member of her constituency, would I- knowing how her first run in Parliament has been- vote her back? That would be a fair assessment of her agency as a “power woman”. I feel that Alengot’s representation of the youth in parliament is lacking, her presence and participation in youth activities (press conferences called by the Youth MPs) could be better.
She attended a youth event hosted by Green Light Movement, an organization that has over 100 partner youth organizations. But her speech lacked depth and knowledge, and her articulation of issues affecting youth in Uganda needs and calls for revision. One could argue that she is young and legislation standards- as well as an understanding of issues- will not be as high, on occasion. But she is a Member of Parliament now, in a position to inspire young female Ugandans who might want to run for a parliament seat or even for the top job.
Also, she did make it to a list of “power women in Africa.”
Mon remains a woman-positive space. We applaud Proscovia Alengot, and the people of Usuk, for being voted into power at such an age- and not as a Woman MP, but as an MP. We still want to hold each other accountable though, on merit. It is important to note that this Forbes’ list was not that of “women in power”, but of “power women.” We also use this space to challenge international and national media to represent the women of Uganda fairly and accurately.
Yesterday, we asked on our Facebook page for suggestions of power women in Uganda that Forbes’ Mfonobong could have considered and done research on. Our requirements were that they were women who exercised power/agency in their fields and/or positions, and that they were under 45 (this was one of Forbes’ requirements as well). This is the list that has, so far, been generated:
- Alice Alaso, FDC Secretary General and Woman MP for Serere district.
- Anne Kansiime who fights against a lot of stereotypes in society using comedy.
- Asiimwe Jacqueline who is involved in the Black Monday Movement as well as several fights for social justice.
- Esther Kalenzi of 40/40 that has had a lot of social media campaigns and changed lives with donations from home (as opposed to international donors).
- Catherine Ruhweza, of Mama Tendo Foundation Family, nutrition.
- Alison Nadunga who is doing work with Karamojong mothers on the Kampala streets. Under Mosaic patterns that is part of Milégé Foundation.
- Mildred Apenyo [Full disclosure: She is one of our contributors so we are biased, but read her for yourself and decide. We believe she is starting discussions about women that haven’t been had, and need to be started.]
- Aidah Agwang who runs the campaign at Ugandans Adopt. She, with her partners, is disintegrating the myth that adoption means a mzungu picking up child at Sanyu Babies home.
- Barbara Birungi, founder of Women in Technology Uganda (WITU) who have recently set up some fierce campaigns on mentoring to increase the number of women in tech.
This list is not complete. There is a woman in every profession, in every district that is recognised for her work. The list is still growing and we shall continue to add to it. Comment and leave us a name of a Ugandan power woman, aged 45 and under, you know.