While some of his disciples haven’t lived up to this task and have been boastful to low-level Ugandans like Akanyijuka, Hajjat Uzeiye Hadijah Namyalo, the Head of the Office of the NRM National Chairman (ONC), and National Coordinator – Bazzukulu Ba Museveni, fits in the description of the fishermen, a biblical metaphor the President once borrowed in June 2021, at the budget reading ceremony at Kololo Independence Grounds.
Hajjat Namyalo’s character of truly being closer to the people, and most especially being honest, respectful, approachable and reachable when they need her is what makes her a whole lady. This is a character the Wanainchi (people) love to associate with, and there is nothing that attracts support from them as that, not even money as many people think!
These virtues are rare among some cadres of her status not only in the ruling party NRM but also the Opposition. The NRM party to which I subscribe has had senior cadres who go to villages to deliver the President’s message, or sometimes to look for their own support, and instead braggingly flash their titles in the peoples’ faces from whom they expect votes and many times speak with excessive pride to them, before speeding off in their big 4×4 vehicles leaving villagers in smokes of dust. In order to truly engage at the grassroots level, you have to stay connected to, and have a presence among, the people you serve.
A presence doesn’t mean a carefully orchestrated public event with the press invited, rather, it means leaving your honourable titles aside and interacting with the people you serve where they’re comfortable. It’s always important to listen carefully to what people have to say and not to be dismissive. This is the case with Hajjat Namyalo, who pays attention to every person, picks up everyone’s call, and if busy, returns missed calls.
Whether it’s in business, politics or any other field, the result of losing touch with the man (or woman) in the village usually leads to blind spots in the decision-making process, with leaders often caught off guard by the consequences of, as well as the reactions to, the decisions they make.
In our case as ONC coordinators, it’s the people at the grassroots that will show you which health officials steal drugs from the government health centres or which Headmaster over charges fees for pupils in a government Universal Primary Education primary school. This self-satisfaction attitude by some government and party officials often has direct repercussions on the voting pattern of the President and the party, who are in this case are innocent.
In surveying life’s subtle landscape for many years now, it’s become clear to me that real, substantive change for the better generally comes from the grassroots up and not from the top down. At the same time, I have also observed a tendency in some leaders to become insular by surrounding themselves with people who tell them what they want to hear as opposed to what they need to hear.
Hajjat Namyalo is opened- minded, and willing to listen to anything as long as it adds value to the NRM National Chairman, her party, and her country. The National Coordinator – Bazzukulu Ba Museveni is a successful farmer, who inspires young people every day to mint money from farming. She’s emotionally intelligent, patient and calm under pressure, and she sees no point in overreacting or allowing her emotions to dictate her words or actions.
The ability to remain calm is undoubtedly one of the most notable traits of leaders with solid character. To become great leaders ourselves, we must train ourselves to hold and express this same type of self-possession.
In Change-maker, a piece published by ForbesBooks, Australian author and former Mayor of Augusta, Deke Copenhaver explains that there is a need for more leaders who are not afraid to do something different in the service of a good cause, just like Hajjat Namyalo is doing at ONC.
“Changemakers are not perfect; they’re not saints,” Copenhaver writes. “They’re just people like you and me who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.”
Hajjat Namyalo’s character alone is a strong mobilization tool for the NRM, and with her, the President and the NRM will score highly in the 2026-2031 national elections.
The writer is a team member of the Office of the National Chairman (ONC) Coordinators Greater Mukono and is the NRM Youth Chairman, Mukono District.