By Asanda Zurah
I would like to give thumbs up to President Yoweri Museveni for appointing more women into positions of power. I am particularly impressed by the appointment of Maj. Rtd. Jesicca Alupo and Hon. Nabbanja Robinah as Her Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda and the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister respectively. I am also celebrating the fact that Mama Janet Museveni and Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga will continue serving Uganda as the Education Minister and 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Affairs respectively. These are women of courage whose contribution to peace building and women empowerment can not be under estimated.
I am also happy for phenomenal women like; Hon. Rukia Nakadama, Mariam Dhoka, Dr. Musenero, Hajat Misi Kabanda, Kasule Lumumba and Agnes Nadutu, Aleru Huda among others who will be serving Uganda in different ministerial portfolios.
As a young female and professional peace activist, I have always and will always advocate for more women leaders at all levels because this means they are able to either lead or participate in peace building initiatives.
Peace building is not limited to war situations alone. Empowering and protecting women is also peace building. Fighting all forms of Gender Based Violence is peace building, educating the girl child is peace building, ending poverty is peace building, ensuring better health for women is peace building.
For all the above to be realised, we need everyone on board but with women in the driver’s seat. When Mama Janet Museveni sat in the driver’s seat for the empowerment of adolescent girls, many girls were empowered and they realised their dreams. When Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga sat in the driver’s seat against Female Genital Mutilation in Sebei and Karamoja, the anti FGM law was passed and FGM is slowly but surely being eliminated.
With more women than ever in cabinet, I am hopeful that more women will sit on the table where decisions are made and their rights to health and personal dignity among others will be violated no more.
The good news is that the ministers will not be alone. There is a long list of organisations (many of them female led) that will be at their service. Paradigm for Social Justice and Development (PSD) is already on ground in the central region empowering women to participate in or lead peace initiatives in their respective communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a whole new challenge for our community engagements, but with support from UN Women and Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, our peace ambassadors are able to reach out to communities.
To the women of courage that are now ministers, our assurance is that we will be at your service when you need us. We will also be counting on your support in order to reach and empower more women. We will be knocking on your doors soon and we are hopeful that you will open them for us.
Paradigm for Social Justice and Development.