BY FRANKLIN DRAKU & SHABIBAH NAKIRIGYA
Ugandan women as a special interest group remain on the sidelines of mainstream politics despite years of affirmative action, a new government report has revealed.
Released on Tuesday by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), the report titled, ‘Annual State of Equality Opportunities in Uganda FY 2022/23’, indicates while the number of women in elective positions has increased through ring-fencing of constituencies for them, little progress has been made in direct competitive politics.
It shows, for example, that of the 529 Members Parliament with 188 female MPs, 146 of them were elected on the
women ticket from districts and cities, and only 14 came through direct constituency elections where they ran against men.
Other female MPs include two youth representatives, three representing persons with disabilities, two are work- ers MPs, and another three represent older persons. There are also three female military officers among the 10 army representatives, while 15 are ex-officio members by virtue of ministerial appointment.
In the central government, Uganda has 38 female ministers, including the Vice President and the Prime Minister. Of these, 12 are full Cabinet ministers, leaving 24 holding junior positions as state ministers. On the other hand, 45 are male ministers.
The report said the figures represent the minimum recommended target of 30 percent composition of women in positions at decision-making level, which is in line with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 1995, to which Uganda is a signatory.
“This shows that Uganda is making positive strides with regard to inclusion of women in representation at higher political positions,” the report says.
After Ugandans voted for the return to multiparty politics in 2005, the 2006-2011 government term saw 10 women appointed to Cabinet where they joined 58 men. In the next period, 2011 to 2016, the number increased to 21 females, while men reduced to 52.