Uganda’s National Assembly speaker, Rebecca Kadaga has caused controversy and sparked sharp criticism after she was spotted last weekend visiting a shrine in her rural home to thank ancestors for her re-election.
According to SDE, Ugandan men are calling for her sack, while an MP and her fierce critic threatening her with a curse of death for engaging in an ungodly act.
Traditionally, the speakers who came before Kadaga were all men, and were allowed to serve two terms. But Kadaga is not a man, so after she completed her first five-year term, and having done a wonderful job that earned her the respect and the speakership in the house, her party wanted to replace her with a man.
The fight for her to secure her party’s nomination was tough and nasty. The party has an overwhelming majority in the House, so whoever it endorses, automatically becomes speaker.
Kadaga found herself in the fight of her life, as her Deputy Mr Jacob Oulanya seemed to enjoy the backing of the powers that be in the party. Eventually Rebecca seemed set to wallop Jacob and the party relented and endorsed her.
After taking oath to steer Parliament for the next five years, the relieved and jubilant Rebecca headed home to her ancestral lands of Busoga to pay homage to her ancestors’ spirits. Television cameras followed her and caught her, walking through stones up a hill to visit the gods in some cave.
While many criticized the Speaker’s action, her supporters have come to her defense. They say she’s being single out because she’s a woman. According to them, it’s tough being a woman in Africa, and extremely harsh if you are to head one of the branches of government. When six years earlier, the then Vice President Gilbert Bukenya was photographed entering a traditional shrine (minus shoes of course) the men thought it was hilarious. But in her own case, it’s a taboo.