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Winnie Byanyima Disappointed by Besigye-Led Gender Imbalanced Opposition

Oxfam Executive Director Winnie Byanyima

UK–based former Mbarara Municipality Member of Parliament Hon Winnie Byanyima is not pleased with the manner in which women have been closed out of leadership positions back in her home country.

Even the most hopeful opposition side led by her husband Col Kizza Besigye and former Prime Minister Hon Amama Mbabazi, Byanyima is disappointed remains widely gender imbalanced.

Byanyima, who has since climbed to the helm of a global Non Governmental Organization Oxfam International, has an extensive history of fighting for gender equality.

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Together with now faded rubble rouser Hon Miria Matembe who served two terms as the Mbarara Woman MP, Winnie Byanyima is highly regarded for her work in fighting for social-political inclusion of women in Uganda in the 6th and 7th parliaments.

Yesterday evening, the Oxfam ED briefly vented out her frustration on social media about how politics in Uganda has been dominated by males.

In a singular tweet, she described as ‘embarrassing,’ the fact that the people preparing to replace the National Resistance Movement Government have not single woman around them.

With a wise hash tag “NoAllMalePanels” she accompanied her message with a picture of her husband Col Besigye and Amama Mbabazi; posing with former UN boss Kofi Annan during the meeting they held in London under the auspices of the Kofi Annan Foundation, which opened a number of key concessions ahead of next year’s elections.

Also in the picture is The Democratic Alliance officials Dr Olara Otunnu, Rev Dr Zac Niringiye and Hon Nandala Mafabi along with other Foundation members — all male.

Byanyima’s great passion for equality was partly why she quit the Ugandan Parliament in 2004 to work with the African Union, the United Nations before she was appointed Oxfam’s topmost executive in 2013.

She said recently that as the head of Oxfam, she knew no other job that would help realize her dream of fighting inequality.

Mrs Byanyima has had her good share of disagreements with the current NRM government and President Yoweri Museveni about gender inequality, which date back more than three decades ago.

She first argued with Museveni in London during the preparation for the 1981 guerrilla war about the roles of women therein.

In London, she was assisting him as he held meetings with several exiled Ugandan groups and raised funds for the armed struggle.

When time came for him to return to the bush, she says, Museveni told her that the conditions in the bush were still unsafe for women, and asked her to either relocate to Zimbabwe, or to return to Uganda and work clandestinely with others who were supporting the guerrilla war.

“We had a major debate over this. I did not understand how a woman could hope to be an equal participant in this Uganda that he was trying to build, if she could be told ‘you cannot participate in the struggle at this stage because it’s too rough,’” she told a recent interview.

“He gave me a long explanation about the proper role of a woman in African society. I remember him telling me that a good woman should remain in the background and give support from there.”

 

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