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44 Years Of How Gen. Museveni Has Struggled To Bring Women On Top And Why VP Alupo’s Medal Is A Well Deserved Accolade

Gen. Museveni decorates VP Alupo with the Prestigious Medal last week

By Peter Magomu Mashate

Right from the days of the formation of Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) where I was a member, one could really see that President Museveni had a special attention on how to involve women in Uganda’s democratization process and Africa at large.

I remember vividly Ms Rhoda Kalema being part of the pioneer executive of the UPM headed by Museveni. A lady from a well to-do background who went to Kings College Buddo; Rhoda also a daughter to former Buganda Katikkiro Martin Luther Nsibirwa, chose to align with the founding and promotion of UPM because of its national character and Pan-Africanism agenda.

Further, this thread of recognizing women continued when NRA/M came into play. This catalogue of women who are on record of having served include Mama Janet Kataha Museveni, Amelia Kyambadde, Gertrude Njuba, Winnie Byanyima, Proscovia Nalweyiso and Janat Mukwaya among others whose historical role in the liberation struggle remains pinned in black and white for everyone to see.

Of course, when one talks of women, you can’t forget Winnie Mandela who stood as a beacon of hope for the deprived in Soweto and stood as a symbol of resistance just as our Ugandan women mentioned above did.

And not only this is happening in NRM alone, but the opposition have also borrowed from the foundation laid by President Museveni and have somehow tried to empower some of their women into leadership positions. The likes of former LoPs Nalongo Winnie Kiiza and Betty Aol Ochan is a clear testimony that the seed NRM sowed continues to be of greater impact. These two female LoPs in spite of their political inclinations, found an ally in NRM which supported their work fully until their parties recalled them from those positions. 

Peter Magomu Mashate

We should not forget that we have got female permanent secretaries like ICT ministry’s Dr. Sarah Zawedde, Energy ministry’s Eng. Irene Bateebe, defense ministry’s Rossetti Byengoma, Trade ministry’s Geraldine Ssali, Electricity Regulatory Authority’s Eng. Ziria Tibalwa Waako, UNRA’s Allen Kagina among others who are doing an excellent job for this country. In other constitutional bodies such as the Inspectorate of Government, we have Beti Kamya while in Uganda Human Rights Commission, the most sensitive commission in the land, we also have Hajat. Fauzat Mariam Wangadya an advocate of the Supreme Court. The list is endless but one can not forget to mention Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga and her namesake H.E Amb. Rebecca Amuge Otengo, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the African Union, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, IGAD as well as being our ambassador to Addis Ababa. Their contribution towards African integration, peace and security shows that women are not only mothers but also peace negotiators.  Who doesn’t know that war affects mostly women and children? This therefore, means when we talk of stability of a country and Africa, women must be part of the negotiation process because they are always the victims of such conflicts. 

A quick glance in all this, demonstrates the maturity, Ideological underpinning and appreciation of the mission of African women emancipation.

Secondly, the thread which runs through among most of iconic women in Africa, is that of extremely moving graphic emotions and gruesome incidents which emboldened the resolve of women to stand out.

Looking at Winnie Mandela and our Vice President Maj. Jessica Alupo, both ladies of Africa have a sad story to tell which emboldened their resolve before reaching where they’re. For example Winnie Mandela when her husband was in jail; throughout the Apartheid, stood out prominently fighting for the underprivileged mostly youth and women in Soweto and therefore lit the entire South Africa and beyond with hope. 

Her fire galvanized the Frontline states including Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola to acknowledge injustice and even went further for total emancipation of Africa in all manifestations.

Comparing Winnie with Uganda’s Alupo, she’s a lady born in a humble background whose dad, a teacher by profession was killed by LRA rebels as he went to collect PLE exams for his school candidates. So, he died while on national duty.

His brutal murder emboldened his daughter to remain steadfast in pursuit of her desire to become a military person driven by the desire to bring about total peace to her country and Africa at large.

A professional soldier, H.E Alupo has performed many tasks as a distinguished intelligence officer, Member of Parliament, Minister and now Second-in-Command of Uganda. Don’t forget she is also a mother and house wife even as she performs national duties across the political spectrum. 

Maj. Jessica Alupo while in active service

Therefore, for the Head of State Gen. Yoweri Museveni to have bestowed upon her the prestigious medal in the land called Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa during the national celebrations to mark the international women’s day in Katakwi, was a well thought out decision, and I truly congratulate Her Excellency upon this great achievement.

It’s an achievement built on trust, honesty, patriotism, transparency and Ideological correctness. Indeed it’s an inspiration to all women especially girls to work hard as they prepare themselves to takeover from the foundation laid by the Alupos. 

The writer is a London-based Constitutional and Human Rights Barrister At-Law

Tags : Jessica AlupoNRMPresident Yoweri MuseveniPRIME MINISTER OF UGANDA
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