KAMPALA – The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has lashed out at members of the public who have been criticizing her over contesting on affirmative action, saying the position isn’t for donation but rather competed for like any other political positions.
Ms. Kadaga made the remarks on Thursday, March 7, while addressing journalists on key milestones undertaken by Parliament to empower women in the country, ahead of the international women’s day celebrations Friday, March 8.
She said: “Affirmative action isn’t a donation. You compete for it, I compete in four constituencies so it isn’t easier. My reasons for being on that seat is because I am a party leader and I must have access to all the constituencies so I can campaign there. If a stay in one, that means I have to ask for permission, so for me, it is strategic.”
The Speaker was responding to comments made by Kilak South MP, Gilbert Olanya who said that the positions of affirmative action are becoming useless because of failure for female MPs to leave their positions for other women, and thus, the program isn’t serving its intended purpose of empowering women both politically and economically.
Mr. Olanya said that as Uganda joins the international community to celebrate the International Women’s Day, there is need for the nation to understand the meaning of affirmative action, adding that whereas it is commendable that each district has a woman MP and the reason is to empower these women economically and politically so that it would come a time when she would compete with a man politically, this isn’t the case at the moment.
“But the unfortunate part of it is that many of our women who are under the affirmative action, immediately they are empowered, they will never leave that position. First term, second term, third terms, fourth term, they are just permanent in Parliament. It means they are denying rights of the young girls who are in the village to join Parliament,” Olanya said.
However, it wasn’t only Kadaga to fire back at Olanya but Pamela Kamugo, Chairperson Uganda Women’s Parliamentary Association to respond to him urging: “Why are you dwelling on only women? Why aren’t you stepping down for other youths who are there in your village?”