By Jehoash Mayanja Nkangi
The launching of African Queens and Women Cultural Leaders Network (AQWCLN) in Kampala, Uganda September 3–7 will be an event of momentous significance, both for its objectives, scope and coverage.
It is joy to realise that our own Queen of Buganda Nnaabagereka, Sylvia Nagginda will be hosting the launch. She is a visionary co-founder of AQWCLN.
This organisation is concerned with the improvement of the lives of women and children in Africa, in participation with the African Union (AU), United Nations and other key stakeholders in Uganda. This objective is laudable and the Nnaabagereka should be highly commended for being one of the brains, so to speak, behind its conceptualisation and formation.
In my capacity as a former Katikkiro (prime minister) of Buganda Kingdom, I personally congratulate the Nnaabagereka as this is a noble idea that will benefit the lives of not only Buganda, or Uganda but Africa at large.
To quote their ‘Harare Call of Action 2012’, The African queens, queen mothers, princesses and other women cultural leaders under their umbrella of AQWCLN are concerned that “harmful traditional practices (have) continued to suppress women and girls and prevent them from the full enjoyment of rights and as such; women continue to be the poorest, least engaged in leadership and decision-making”.
Although the above observations contain clear hyperbole, since thousands of African men are equally poor and politically disadvantaged, it is undoubtedly commendable that what AQWCLN in fighting is to raise a part of humanity which is currently submerged, both economically and politically.
Fortunately, here in Uganda, the Constitution does not allow discrimination of any kind. It is worth celebrating and heartening to see that Ugandan women are at per with the male folk particularly in Cabinet, Parliament, NGO sector, security and armed forces and the various professions.
However, the level of participation, for both women and men still needs to be raised, and this must be the legitimate concern of every Ugandan irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity or social class.
I cannot, but highly congratulate the Nnaabagereka on the various cultural, educational and social projects she has successfully accomplished in Buganda, Uganda and internationally ever since she became Queen of Buganda 14 years ago. Culturally, the Nnaabagereka of Buganda “has no constituency” so to speak, in the running of the affairs of the kingdom outside the palace.
As a consort of the Kabaka, all of us his subjects would be content is she ably performed this assignment to the satisfaction of the Kabaka, so as to enable him lead his people with a contented mind, and of course, she properly brought up the Princess and Princesses of the Kingdom.
Nnaabagereka Sylvia has given far much more than what she bargained for. Of course I must also be grateful to the Ssabasajja Kabaka because, he is the cultural head of Baganda, and the Nnaabagereka can only do so much as he will sanction.
All I can urge the Nnaabagereka to do is to ensure that she continues to pursue the noble objectives of her organisation and those of AQWCLN within the dignity and decorum with which she is identified.
Without Women and Children, there can be no nation, and therefore, their advancement in the various spheres of human endeavour is critically imperative.
The writer is a former Katikkiro of Buganda Kingdom 1964 – 1994; former Cabinet minister of finance and currently the chairperson of Uganda Land Commission