The 9th Parliament with 34% women, increased from the 31% in the 8th Parliament, but is still lower than the parity target set by the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
As the new MPs are sworn in, we want to recognise the women of the 9th Parliament who stood out.
While Uganda has had special seats for women since 1989 National Resistance Council elections, the women legislators have mostly shared the space with their male counterparts. This was the first time that the House was occupied by just women for the very first National Women’s Parliament.
It was organised by the Uganda Women Parliamentarian Association (UWOPA) and the women used the platform to several issues: laws passed that directly affect women, land issues and cultural practices like polygamy.
There are a lot of grey areas when it comes to traditional healing and religions. As Maama Fiina rightly pointed out while in Parliament, the existing laws governing need to be revisited. The current law is the colonial Witchcraft Act 1957 and the practice has changed with the cash-based economy and several other factors. Her reasoning is of course self-preserving. Maama Fiina believes that there are several disingenuous practitioners who are there to swindle money while UCC said the law, especially Section 2, was vague.
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.”
Photography: Jackie Kemigisa