GRACE Freedom Kwiyucwiny, the first woman Member of Parliament for the newly-created district of Zombo, has come a long way.
A few years ago, she contested but did not make it to Parliament, she did not give up the fight. With both men and women rallying behind her, she recently won the Zombo seat which was curved out of Nebbi district.
She got 30,268 votes beating her rivals Grace Monokuma and Joanita Ngabiroch, both independent.
Kwiyucwinyâ€™s first attempt at politics was when she contested against Betty Odongo in a by-election following the death of Esther Dhugira in 2001, but she lost.
As the former Nebbi community chairperson, she proved to be pragmatic on women issues, she sought to reassure the voters that she will represent their views in Parliament.
When rumours were rife that Zombo would become a district, many women who worked with Kwiyucwiny before, pleaded with her to contest even when this time she had not expressed interest in politics.
Kwiyucwiny beat her rivals Catherine Mavenjina and Grace Pacutho in the NRMprimary elections to become party flag-bearer.
She said she will ensure that more health centres are put up in Zombo district and income generating activities for the youth established.
â€œThe youth are very important in this country and they should not be left without jobs,â€ Kwiyucwiny said.
Kwiyucwiny drew her popularity when she supported womenâ€™s projects and linked them to donors (European Development Fund- EDF) and Local Government structures for financial and technical support. She sensitised women on legal rights and gender issues, trained women leaders in project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation in
gender sensitive and carried out needs assessment for Adult Education in West Nile region. This culminated into the Women Empowerment Programme.
Kwiyucwiny, a social scientist and a holder of Masters degree in Business Administration is also a consultant with AKIJUL in Kampala, a local NGO involved in development and evaluation of programmes that address human rights, governance, HIV/AIDS and agriculture.
Among other things Kwiyucwiny facilitated organisational self-assessment and developed a strategic plan for Coalition of Political Accountability to Women (COPAW), policy analysis for women civic and political leaders for Uganda, a women parliamentarians association (UWOPA) a strong association within the Ugandan Parliament in lobbying and advocating for gender sensitive policies. She has been advocating for support to district women and the girl child programmes.
â€œI facilitated a study on the impact of national policies on women in which the decentralisation policy, affirmative action on women, CEDAW resolutions, among others, were assessed,â€ Kwiyucwiny said.
Besides conducting study on impact of national policies, she also facilitated a study on performance of members of Parliament, a gender perspective which revealed the progress, achievements and challenges faced by the women in the Parliament of Uganda.
DANIDA, she said picked interest in it and sent a delegation of women members of parliament to the Denmark parliament to study multi-party and political transition about women.
Zombo gets first woman MP