BY MARY KARUGABA
When she gave birth to a baby girl in 1986, MP Joy Arinaitwe’s mother Nalongo Joy Kanyakoro knew her joy would last for generations.
She named her last-born daughter Joy to carry on her legacy that was quickly being eroded by the title Nalongo (mother of twins).
For 27 years, Arinaitwe, the youthful legislator lived up to her name until Wednesday afternoon when she succumbed to a brain tumour at Nakasero Hospital.
But as the Bible says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Although she was not vocal in Parliament, she hated controversies, and would never get involved in unnecessary arguments.
In the Public Accounts Committee where almost everyone speaks on top of their voices, Arinaitwe would calmly and politely, request the chairman to give her chance to say something. Because of her humble way of approaching issues, the committee chairperson, Kassiano Wadri, always referred to her as “the good one”.
Arinaitwe was not good in Parliament only. She was excellent in the constituency. She beat six opponents to win the hotlycontested Buhweju Woman MP seat during the NRM primaries. When it came to the final elections, she sailed through unopposed.
What her sister says
Her decision to contest for a Parliamentary seat took the family by surprise.She courageously pursued her dream of being a leader. “When she informed the family that she was joining the Parliamentary race, we were very sceptical because she was young and had just left university.
However, because of her passion for leadership, she believed in herself,” says her sister Enid Byaruhanga. Byaruhanga says Arinatwe knew that she would recover and fulfil her plans both at home and in the constituency.
“Despite her pain, she knew she would get better. Even in India where we had gone for the operation, she knew she would recover. As a result she never stopped planning for her home and her constituency,” Byaruhanga recalls.
Her husband, Eng. J.B Kariisa believed in her. According to him, it was her beauty and open mind that attracted him to Arinaitwe. “She was very understanding and wellcomposed. She spoke her mind and had big plans,” he said.
Arinatwe and Kariisa had been together since September 2007 and had two children aged six and three years.
What friends say
Those who went to school with her say she has always been humble. “While other girls were naughty and running up and down, Arinaitwe was always quiet,” a former schoolmate said.
Her close friend, Agnes Sebanenya, remembers her as a reliable friend. “She was always sincere and straightforward,” she says.
Her colleague from Buhweju, Ephraim Biraro, described her as a humble, friendly and hardworking MP. “Arinaitwe was a friendly person who has died at a young age. We will miss her.”
MP David Bahati said Arinaitwe was a humble and committed member of the NRM party. “It is unfortunate that she has died at this time,” he said.
Arinaitwe loved leadership positions and had a passion for politics. When Buhweju was carved out of Bushenyi, Arinaitwe grabbed the opportunity with open hands. She gave up her managerial position to pursue politics.
Because of her vision of increasing household income through coffee growing, she earned the trust of many. During the primaries, she beat her opponents with over 78%. With her popularity soaring, she was unopposed in the finals.
Background and education
According to family members, the legislator was born in Kyankukwe, Mitooma district. She went to Buhinga Primary School in Fort Portal where her parents worked.
In 1999 she joined Bweranyangi Girls School and later joined St. Lawrence High School for A ‘level. She later joined Makerere Business School for a bachelor’s degree in Business Education.
In 2008, she started her company, Ariko Capital Purchase Uganda Ltd where she was the managing director until 2011 when she joined politics.
Arinaitwe was a healthy young lady until she started falling sick. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour. However, that did not stand in the way of her vision and plans for Buhweju.
In March 2012, her condition deteriorated and she was flown to Apollo Hospital in India for treatment. Although she looked well, the tumour reportedly returned and she was flown back for another operation in July.
When she returned, to Uganda, her condition did not change. Three weeks ago, according to Kariisa, she became weak and was rushed to Nakasero Hospital where she has been receiving treatment until Wednesday afternoon when she breathed her last.
Arinaitwe becomes the ﬁfth MP to die since the 9th Parliament started, after Michael Oromoit (Usuk), Stephen Malinga (Butebo), Cerinah Nebanda (Butaleja) and Eriya Kategaya (ex-ofﬁcio).
Parliament to pay tribute
The body of the deceased will lie in state in the Parliament foyer today for public viewing. The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, will ofﬁcially receive the body at 9:30am.
In the foyer, MPs, Parliament staff and the general public will view the body, sign the condolence book and console the deceased’s family members and friends.
A special sitting of Parliament to pay tribute to the deceased legislator will be held in the afternoon.
After Parliament, the body will be taken to Christ the King Church for the funeral service and later to her home in Nansana for a vigil.
She will be buried on Sunday at Bwengwe sub-county, Kashanyi village in Buhweju district.