KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni has said the NRM government has always championed women emancipation.
“The NRM position right from the beginning was looking at the whole society with aim to transform it. The problem of Africa is that we delayed in social economic transformation. In the last 600 years, Africa has lagged behind in the process of social economic transformation. However, in our efforts of social economic transformation, we used a number of stimuli from the beginning,” he said.
“The first one was the strong security apparatus to maintain peace in country. Our girls are part of that structure. I am not surprised by insecurity in some parts of Africa because some of our brothers looked at this issue in a different way. Patriotism, Pan Africanism and social economic transformation led to building of strong army.”
The president and NRM national chairman was speaking during the International Women’s day celebrations held at Kololo under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.”
He noted that there are no longer refugees including women moving out of Uganda to other countries or being refugees in their own country due to the peace enjoyed by the country.
The president who was accompanied by the First Lady Janet Museveni added that the NRM government emphasized political emancipation for women by ensuring affirmative action which has seen many women politicians come up, unlike before.
“ When you look at parliament, if we were to look for only constituency MPs, the number of women would be smaller than it is now. We would have only 26 women in parliament out of the 300MPs or so. Because of our knowledge of society, we said let women compete with men but also have a portion of theirs. We said for each district, there should be a seat for women.”
“What you are celebrating now when I appoint some of women Vice President or Prime Minister etc is an outward sign that women can manage. It doesn’t manage you will all go and sleep in her house or that she shares her salary with you.”
The president noted that the policy of education for all has ensured the literacy levels go up for everyone, including women.
“We introduced UPE and want it to be free education. You can see government schools are now full of children and because of that education women have come up . In 2001, the girls in schools were 24% but today, they are 49.9% of the enrollment. Literacy rate for women is 72% from 43% in 1986. If we could implement completely free education in government schools, we could move much faster,” he noted.
Museveni however noted that what is remaining is total economic empowerment of women to ensure they are no longer vulnerable.
He said the new programs like the Parish Development Model and Emyooga are set to address this and ensure women among other members of society are economically empowered.
“This is what I want you to concentrate on this time through Parish Development Model and Emyooga. This will make big changes in society. In this term, I want to tell you to understand this effort of empowering women economically. Once a woman has got her own money, she will no longer be as vulnerable as those who depend on others . This our broad program for social economic transformation including women empowerment”
The function was also attended by the Vice President, Maj(RTD) Jessica Alupo, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, Health Minister, Dr.Jane Ruth Aceng, the NRM Women’s League chairperson Lydia Wanyoto and Hajati Faridah Kibowa, the Women Council Chairperson among others.