President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has commended the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga for responding to the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government's reform of broad-based democracy.
“I really want to congratulate people like Rebecca Kadaga who responded to our reform because if they had not, our reform would have failed because the question was why were the women not coming up through the stampede, was it because they didn't want to or? “President Museveni said.
The President made the remarks as he officiated at the launch of “The Pathway to Greatness”, a book authored by Rt. Hon. Kadaga at Kololo Independence Grounds.
According to President Museveni, the past governments used to keep women at the back but when the NRM government came into power in 1986, they opted to implement their ideas of broad-based democracy which among others included involving women in the army and opening up a political space which enabled women like Rt. Hon. Kadaga to join Parliament.
“When we came to power, we said no, this is not correct because all the census figures show that the women are the majority. We said let us have one man one vote for the 149 constituencies that time but in addition after we have got the constituency MPs, let us get 1 woman per the 36 districts elected by everybody but on an affirmative action seat. That is how our women like the Rebeccas came up,” he revealed.
“Even today, when you look at this Parliament which we have now, only 14 women came through the other constituency method. You can see if we didn't have the other affirmative action. That is how we broadened democracy, then we added the disabled, the youth, the workers and the elderly,” he added.
President Museveni also described Rt. Hon. Kadaga as a committed person and a fighter.
“I'm very happy with the women who came up and responded to our call and Rebecca Kadaga was one of them. When she came, we supported her. She became the Deputy Speaker for quite some time and then Speaker and she has been with us all this time. I really thank her,” President Museveni noted.
“Rebecca is a very committed person; committed to what she believes in and a fighter. That is how I exploit some of my people. I said you are a fighter now you go and fight for the East African Federation and she is there really fighting, and she has contributed to her area of Kamuli and Busoga. She is always very active in those institutions. I have not yet read her book but I'm very sure it's interesting. I congratulate her and her parents who sent her to school.”
On her part, Rt. Hon. Kadaga informed the President that this is her first book, and she was mainly inspired to author it because when she moves around the country people tell her they want to be like her.
“In many schools, children tell me I want to be like you but they are looking at the finished product, they don't know my journey, some of them probably don't know that I went to Primary or nursery school; they have seen me when I have grown up,” she said.
“So I felt the need to proudly explain my journey within the society: what has been possible, what has been difficult, the Pitfalls, and so on and so forth. It's not an autobiography; that one is coming but this one is a combination of my experiences and my life.”
Ms. Anne Kabagambe, a friend of Rt. Hon. Kadaga said the First Deputy Prime Minister has steadfast passion and commitment to women empowerment.
“I want to be able to honour her and acknowledge her accomplishments and most importantly I would like to celebrate something that is very close to her heart; that is her steadfast passion and commitment to women empowerment,” Ms. Kabagambe said.
“Rebecca for those who might not know her is somebody who is hardworking, disciplined and an intellectual. She is so passionate about any activity that she does, she observes integrity in her work. She is a person who has specific values, and she has always been someone whom I can always count on due to her integrity.”
The event was also attended by the 3rd Deputy Prime Minister, Rt.Hon. Rukia Nakadama, among other dignitaries.