Uganda: Members of Parliament salute Ogwal’s patriotism in final tribute

Uganda: Members of Parliament salute Ogwal’s patriotism in final tribute

Uganda: Members of Parliament salute Ogwal’s patriotism in final tribute

Uganda: Members of Parliament salute Ogwal’s patriotism in final tribute

Members of Parliament have paid glowing tribute to former Dokolo Woman District Representative, the late Hon. Cecilia Atim Ogwal, in a special sitting dedicated to remembering her contribution.

Ogwal, 77, served as Member of Parliament from 1996 until 18 January 2024 when she passed on in India following a short hospitalization.  

Ogwal was credited for championing the return to multi-party politics, at a time when women were politically marginalised. Legislators observed that Ogwal broke the barriers otherwise insurmountable to ordinary women.

“Cecilia was among the few women, about five of them, who would push for issues that women would ordinarily not handle. She led the drive to return the multi-party system, and men followed her,” said Hon. Betty Amongi, the Minister for Gender Labour and Social Development.

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs, Rt Hon. Rebecca Kadaga recalled how Ogwal challenged President Yoweri Museveni during her press for an end to the Movement System.

“During the multi-party system debates, Ogwal campaigned and campaigned, they would argue with everyone, even the President until we all agreed that the multi-party system should come back.  She was the voice that led to that process,” Kadaga said.

The motion to honour her was moved by the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja during a special sitting on Monday, 22 January 2024 chaired by Speaker Anita Among.

The Minister for Health, Hon. Jane Ruth Aceng highlighted Ogwal’s outstanding contribution as a champion for the establishment of specialized cancer and heart institutes.

Aceng narrated how Ogwal and colleagues led to a stalemate during the Ninth Parliament when they opposed the passing of the national budget over inadequate funding to the health sector.

“She put up a strong fight for government to increase the budget for the upgrade and construction of health centre IIIs so much that there was a crisis for two weeks and Parliament could not pass the budget until government granted them their request,” Aceng said.

Aceng added that due to such efforts, at least 340 health facilities have been upgraded while 31 new facilities have been constructed.

Ogwal is also said to have influenced the ongoing process of procuring and installing a modern scanning equipment at the Uganda Cancer Institute. This is an imaging test used to determine cancer diagnosis, which would reduce the costly referral of cancer patients to specialized cancer treatment centres abroad.

Many commended Ogwal for debunking the prejudices that career women and those in leadership cannot have successful marriages.

“It is a tribute to her that you can be powerful and advocate for women’s rights without degenerating morally, as is often the case. Some people think that powerful women do not have husbands or are loving wives like her,” said Hon. Nobert Mao, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

Ogwal stood out as a vocal opposition MP yet very tolerant to people from divergent political leanings, MPs observed. As a result, the President accorded her an official burial with a gun salute.

“Although late Hon. Ogwal was an opposition politician, she was a good friend to the President and that is why he always referred to her as his sister. For her exemplary leadership, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni bestowed upon her the Uganda Leadership Award 2023,” said Nabbanja.

For a significant number of MPs, the fallen legislator was a mentor who inspired many to join or grow into political leadership.

“I am a product of Hon Ogwal; I never set out to join politics. I was comfortable in my career, it is her who inculcated in me the spirit, and the values you are talking about,” said Hon. Abdu Katuntu (Indep., Bugweri County).

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.