By Nicholas Komakech
Much as the two obvious and significant factors of gender and regional balance put Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga at a comfortable advantageous point against her rival Jacob Oulanyah, the Kamuli strong woman also has a prolific and an unbeatable profile.
Kadaga’s evident records and achievements have incredibly benefited tens of millions in Ugandans and inspired more across the country, Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing countries.
She is the first woman to establish a law firm in Uganda, a venture then a privilege of only men. The historic move by Kadaga has in effect inspired tens of thousands of ladies who are and now flourishing and respected lawyers in Kampala, Gulu, Mbarara, Mbale and other cities and towns.
Kadaga is also a priced early member of the Uganda Association of Women Leaders (FIDA). During Kadaga’s tenure as FIDA President between 1986 and 1989, the first legal aid clinic in Uganda to support the ordinary people and the unprivileged was created. Millions of unprivileged citizens have for decades benefited from the free legal support, thanks to Speaker Kadaga.
She is also the first woman to become Speaker of Parliament and the head of an arm of Government in Uganda. Again, millions of girls and young ladies across the country are inspired by her courage to assume the leadership of the Legislature and excellently steer it for years.
The Speaker is also credited as the champion of the Rule of law and human rights advocate. Uganda Law Society (ULS) on Christmas Eve of 2020 bestowed on Rt. Hon. Rebecca the Rule of Law Award. Kadaga has for decades advocated for the unprivileged in the country and fought for their interests.
Parliament of Uganda under Kadaga is the first in the world to introduce the Certificate of Gender Equity, which stipulates that all budget and recruitment processes should consider gender parity. It has since its inception improved on the inclusion of women in management, leadership and job opportunities. The UN Women recognized Kadaga in 2018 for introducing the Certificate of Gender Equity.
She is a cherished recipient of the Grand Officer of the Republic of Benin from the President of Benin, Thomas Boni Yayi in 2014, in recognition of her work as humanity campaigner.
Kadaga was also awarded the African Speaker of the Year in 2018 by the London Political Summit.
She served as the Chairperson of the University Council for Mbarara University between 1993 and 1996. During 1996, she served as Secretary General of the East African Women Parliamentarians Association.
From 1996 to 1998, Rebecca Kadaga was the Ugandan Minister of State for Regional Cooperation (Africa and the Middle East). She then served as Minister of State for Communication and Aviation from 1998 to 1999 and as Minister for Parliamentary Affairs from 1999 to 2000. She was elected as Deputy Speaker of Parliament in 2001, a position that she held until 19 May 2011, when she was elected Speaker of Parliament. The incumbent Edward Ssekandi pulled out of the race after realizing that Kadaga was favorably going to win.
Kadaga was again unanimously re-elected as Speaker of Parliament on 19 May 2016 when her Deputy Jacob Oulanyah pulled out race fearing defeat.
Rebecca Kadaga, according to many, remains a prized and objective Speaker to uphold the prestige, integrity and the independence of Parliament as the vanguard of democracy.