By Vision Reporters
More than 30 women are contesting against men for positions of directly elected MPs, in addition to 112 district positions reserved for Woman MPs and one position for national youth female MP.
Whereas the number might appear small, analysts say it is a step towards having more representation for women in Parliament.
However, there is no significant increase compared with the 2011 elections. Thanks to the 1995 Constitution, at least one parliamentary seat is reserved for women in each district.
Whereas most women still contest on the affirmative action seat, the number of women contesting against men has been rising.
An analysis of the list shows that in Kamuli municipality, there are more women than men that were nominated to stand in the county constituency.
In Kalangala district, Woman MP Carol Birungi has switched goal posts from representing women, to contesting in Kyamuswa County to fill the void left by veteran politician Tim Lwanga.
Lwanga has retired from elective politics, meaning Birungi will take on Moses Kabuusu, a former radio journalist, who recently crossed from the Democratic Party (DP) to the National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Even in Kampala, where politics is so competitive and had in the past been left for men, women have started showing serious interest and are taking on men.
According to a study carried out in America, women are as capable of being good political leaders as men.
The same study also said the same can be said of their ability to dominate the corporate boardroom.
The report released in November by Pew Research Centre, an international research firm, said women are indistinguishable from men on key leadership traits, such as intelligence and capacity for innovation.
In the study, many people interviewed — who made up both men and women — said women are actually stronger than men in terms of being compassionate and organised leaders.
The findings were based on a survey of 1,835 randomly selected adults.
The survey was conducted online from November 12 to 21, 2014 in US. Four in 10 of them (38%) said having more women in top leadership positions in business and government would do a lot to improve the quality of life for all women.
However, even so, the report said, women continue to lag behind men in senior management positions and many get less pay than men.
Makerere University history don, Mwambutsya Ndebesa, recently warned women that in spite of the great strides, they will face tough challenges in races against men.
He notes that some men are filthy rich, yet women have cultural constraints.
Lwengo district Woman MP Gertrude Nakabira, who is contesting against men in Bukoto South, told Sunday Vision that the district Woman MP seat is expensive to sustain, perhaps the reason why more women are opting for the constituencies.
She notes that whereas the men’s constituencies are made up of an average of three sub-counties, women MPs represent over 10 sub-counties.
“As a Woman MP, you dance in the playground when your colleagues are dancing from the sitting room,” Nakabira said.
The ‘play-ground’, she said, is the district woman MP seat, while the ‘sitting room’ is the county seat mostly occupied by men.
Below are some of the prominent women contesting against men in Kampala central, Nakawa and Kawempe.
Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze was a little known person 10 years ago. She did not hesitate to challenge men for a parliamentary slot.
In the 2008 by-elections, Nambooze battled with the then popular Mukono North MP, the Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa and defeated him.
Mukono presents a particularly interesting case study because although there are men in the race, Nambooze’s closest challenger, Fatuma Ndisaba, is also a woman.
Ndisaba partly benefited from Nambooze’s mentorship while she was still in DP.
Today, she is the NRM flag-bearer. Ndisaba has been NRM district general secretary and speaker for Goma sub-county, now known as Goma Division under Mukono municipality.
Despite crossing parties, some of her former colleagues in DP still support her.
Bukoto South in Lwengo district has a tough woman in the race.
The incumbent district Woman MP, Gertrude Nakabira is taking on one of the strongest politicians in the race, Haji Muyanja Mbabaali. Mbabaali is a wealthy politician, whose pockets never dry.
Nakabira had run in the NRM party primaries, but the pressure Mbabaali exerted on her forced her out of the race.
She is now contesting as an independent candidate. Recently, Nakabira’s campaigns got a boost when the area’s Catholic diocesan bishop, John Baptist Kaggwa, urged his church members to vote for only Catholics.
In the same race, Nakabira is tussling out with the DP secretary general and incumbent, Mathias Nsubuga.
Nakabira’s chances are still 50%.
The race for Kamuli Municipality has attracted three powerful women against one man.
The trio is Hajati Rehema Watongola (NRM), Proscovia Salaamu Musumba (FDC), the LC5 chairperson and Proscovia Naikoba Kanakutanda.
The three are tussling out with David Kamaali Sabira, a personal assistant to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.
Watongola says her win is eminent, owing to NRM’s dominance in the municipality and her mobilisation antics.
Watongola was the chief technocrat for Kadaga’s campaigns for close to 20 years. But none of the other three contenders is a simple politician.
Take for example Musumba, who won the LC5 seat when political tension was high in Kamuli.
Betty Amongi is the incumbent MP for Oyam West.
If she wins the 2016 polls, it will be the second time she is representing the constituency.
Prior to that, Amongi was the Woman Member of Parliament for Apac district, where she served two terms.
Annet Nyakecho Okwenye is the incumbent MP for the Otuke Woman MP seat.
However, after a five-year term in Parliament where she served as vice-chairperson on the parliamentary committee on science and technology (and also as member committee on legal and parliamentary affairs), Nyaketcho has switched from the woman MP seat to county constituency.
And it is not in Otuke district in northern Uganda, but in the eastern Uganda district of Tororo.
She will be contesting against FDC strongman Geoffrey Ekanya, who has been in Parliament since 2001. Tororo North is a newly-created constituency and was gazetted this year.
Nyaketcho was born in Atiri in Mukuju sub-county, Tororo district, but got married in Otuke. Previously, Tororo County was one constituency under the leadership of Ekanya, but in the recent government exercise of creating more counties, it was split into two — Tororo North and Tororo South.
Olga Ajiri is the only woman among eight candidates standing for the race in Nakawa, a Kampala suburb. Her message is courage and building a condusive environment for children in the communities.
A mother of four, Ajiri is a teacher and businesswoman. She hopes to upstage the incumbent, Frederick Ruhindi, the current Attorney General. Ruhindi has been undefeatable for the last 15 years. Other contestants include FDC’s Michael Kabaziguruka and DP’s spokesperson, Kenneth Kakande.
The Kitgum Woman MP is an iron lady by all standards. In 2007, when Anywar led a protest against the give-away of Mabira Forest, her impact was felt.
The give away was halted and she remained popular to date. But after representing the women in Kitgum for about 15 years, Anywar has shifted goal posts.
In the ongoing elections, Maama Mabira is taking on men for Kitgum municipality MP slot.
Interestingly, Anywar’s main challenger, Denis Okalit, is a member of her party, FDC, where she is a senior party official.
Aywar told Sunday Vision that she has outgrown the Woman MP seat and is now wants to challenge men to see what it means to represent both men and women.
Justine Nameere, a daughter of prominent politician and agriculture state minister, Vincent Ssempijja, is the other woman taking on men in the parliamentary race.
Nameere is contesting against prominent politicians who include the NRM flag-bearer, Dr. Abdullah Nkoyoyo.
But since she entered the race, Nameere has stirred a ‘tsunami’ in the NRM camp.
Since she is an NRM-leaning independent, there is fear that she will snatch some of Nkoyoyo’s votes to the advantage of the DP flag-bearer and incumbent, Florence Namayanja.
Little wonder that a chain of NRM leaders are pleading with her to quit the race.
The former deputy Mayor of Kampala between 2006 and 2011, Florence Namayanja, is one of the powerful female politicians DP is counting on for the future.
In the 2011 general elections, Namayanja flooed one of NRM’s strong men, Alintuma Nsambu, who was the information state minister.
Defeatung Nsambu earned her a big name in Masaka and nationally.
Anita Flavia Omondi is taking on seven men in the race for the Bugabula North parliamentary seat in Kamuli district.
Her popularity is growing like a bush fire. She is giving the men in the race, who include presidential advisor on foreign affairs, Moses Kizige, sleepless nights.
Omondi, who works with Qatar Airways, had one of the biggest crowds in the district on the nomination day.
Omondi, the wife to former New Vision journalist, Frederick Womakuyu, started her campaign early by sponsoring football and netball tournaments.
She also participated in fundraising drives in schools, churches, graduation parties and funerals. The men in the race include Kamuli district veterinary officer, Dr. Dan Kasibule, George Mulindwa, a lecturer at Busoga University and John Teira, who works in State House; Dan Wakiita; Enoka Kasando and the incumbent, Andrew Allen.
After contesting in the presidential elections five years ago, Beti Kamya has gone back to the roots — contest for a parliamentary seat for Rubaga North.
She is standing under the umbrella of her party, Uganda Federal Alliance. Some of her rivals include the incumbent, Moses Kasibante and Brian Tindyebwa of NRM.
While the challenge for most women against male challengers is a mountain to climb, it is not insurmountable for Kamya. Many reasons explain this.
She is popular in Rubaga as she was once MP there (2001-2006).
Her participation in the 2011 presidential elections also greatly enhanced her credentials. She belongs to the Opposition that enjoys a lot of support in Kampala.
Syda Bbumba (Nakaseke North) is one of Uganda’s longest-serving MPs.
Her first foray into Parliament was in 1996. Since then, she has been to the House, which has given her the chance to be selected for different Cabinet positions — the last of which was as finance minister.
If Bbumba wins next year’s elections, pundits opine this might be her last term since her popularity has been dwindling over the years. She won the primaries narrowly.
Her opponents in the race are David Kididi Bagarukayo, Peter Kasolo and Annet Katunywane. Her stiffest challenge is likely to come from Bagarukayo, whom she defeated narrowly.
Bagarukayo is the son of the late Ernest Bagarukayo, who supported the bush war that brought the NRM government in power.
Kalangala district Woman MP, Carol Birungi, has also switched goal posts from representing women to contesting in Kyamuswa County. Birungi wants to replace veteran politician, Tim Lwanga, who has retired from elective politics. Birungi will take on Moses Kabuusu, a former radio journalist, who recently crossed from DP to NRM. The race between the two is tight since they are equally strong candidates.
Other women contesting in constituencies
Gulu municipality: Christine Atimango-Ario
Buhweju County: Jane Fridah Bwiruka
Kagoma County: Lydia Lukabala
Kikinzi West: Jacqueline Kyatueire
Buyanja County: Resty Birungi
Bugangaizi West: Aisa Asaba
Erute North: Christine Akello
Chwa East: Phoebe Aber
Kilak North: Concy Adoch Nyapola
Nakifuma: Zulia Nakampaka
Mawokota North: Amelia Kyambadde
Hoima Municipality: Kabakumba Matsiko
Bubulo West: Rose Mutonyi
Burahya County: Margaret Muhanga
Tororo County North: Annet Nyaketcho
Pian County: Anne Riisa Akolo
Ruhama County: Santurina Kakyene Namanya
West Budama South: Phibby Otaala
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