BUTAMBALA, UGANDA: Rashida Namboowa of the National Unity Platform made records when she became the first woman to become the district chairperson in Butambala.
Namboowa is also the first member of the Opposition to win a seat in a district which was previously seen as an NRM stronghold since it is home to the NRM vice-chairman, Haji Moses Kigongo.
Nambowa says she maintained her focus even after losing the race in 2016 to then district chairperson, Godfrey Bavekuno Kyeswa, in a hotly contested competition and vowed to bounce back in 2021 which she thankfully achieved.
Who is Rashidah Namboowa? Her profile, Life and Leaderhisp background
Born in 1984 to Haji Muhammad Mboowa and Hajat Afua Nakiyingi in Kiziiko village, Mabanda parish, Kibibi sub-county in Butambala district, Namboowa, says she always yearned to be a leader even in the schools she attended.
Namboowa went to Saad Senene Primary School in Gombe town council. She later joined Mbuliire Secondary School where she completed her O’level and A’level.
In 2008, she enrolled at the Kabojja campus of the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) from where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human resource management.
She is married to Abdul Ssemanda and they have three children.
While at Mbuliire Secondary School, Namboowa was elected to the position of headgirl. She also served as the chairperson for Buganda Nkobazambogo club at IUIU, an association that brings together Baganda students in high institutions of learning.
Namboowa, who was the NUP candidate, won the Butambala district chairperson seat after polling 16,754 votes trouncing Muhammad Lwoga of the NRM who polled 5,856, former Woman MP for Butambala district Mariam Nalubega (IND) who got 1,626, Ibrahim Mutyaba (FDC) 588, Edward Ssebuyiira (IND) 283 and Isaac Wamala (ANT) 151 votes.
She first contested for the same position in the 2016, but lost to incumbent Kyeswa of the NRM. She polled 10,222 votes, while Kyeswa won with 10,363 votes.
Namboowa was not contented with the outcome of the polls and decided to go to court, saying she was cheated.
She, however, lost the case both in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
The latter court’s ruling came last year, a few days after she was nominated to contest for the same seat.
The Butambala district chairperson-elect says after the outcome of the 2016 elections, she never lost hope, she kept on doing work on the ground despite the delay of the court ruling.
“I had a case of vote rigging before the court. It took so long that my supporters thought I had lost interest in the position. I, however, kept close to my people who voted for me,” Namboowa said.
Butambala district being a Muslim-dominated district, Namboowa said she faced a challenge of some Muslim clerics and faithful, who believed that women were not allowed to hold offices like the one which she was competing for.
“While soliciting for votes, in some parts of the district I would encounter people from my Muslim faith, who said I was unfit to hold that office because of being a woman. This did not discourage me because in Uganda we are not governed by Sharia Law. The Constitution gives us equal rights to contest for any political office,” Namboowa said.
She, however, noted that there were many other Muslim clerics who were in support of her candidacy, which motivated her.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM HER LEADERSHIP
With a council dominated by councillors subscribing to her National Unity Platform party, Namboowa says the task ahead of her is likely to be easy and promised a people-centred leadership.
She says her leadership is going to place lots of emphasis on the protection of the central forest reserves that have highly been degraded in the district, promoting education of girls, infrastructure, among others things.
“We shall work as a team to deliver service to our people, specifically protecting the natural resources found in Butambala in order to save them from encroachers,” Namboowa said.