Kampala Woman MP NAbilah Naggayi Sempala

Ordinarily, Alebtong District Woman MP seat loser Ms Elizabeth Abongo of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) should have her fellow party member, Kampala Woman legislator Nabilah Naggayi Sempala, as an ally. But this is not the case when it comes to demonising girl education.

Nabilah has astonishingly come out in defense NRM’s Christine Acen, whose election as Alebtong legislator was on Wednesday nullified by the Lira High Court over lack of requisite academic papers following a petition filed by Ms Abongo. The court also ordered the Electoral Commission to conduct fresh election.

In her ruling, Justice Night Percy Tuhaise said “there is possibility that the documents Ms Acen used for her nomination were forged since she did not qualify to join secondary school.”

Court heard that the first respondent (Ms Acen) sat for Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) at Ambalal Primary School in Lira District, but failed.

According to the evidence adduced in court, Ms Acen got F9 in three subjects: Social Studies, Mathematics and Science, and scored aggregate 8 in English.

Court heard that the MP’s Division U could not make her join secondary school, or take her anywhere.

But Nabilah immediately came out in a protracted statement advocating for the love and support of continued girl education, especially those from rural areas like Alebtong.

The controversial MP ranted: “Qualifications are a good proxy for the knowledge and skills that young people need. We should think of them as stepping-stones to a bright and successful future for those who achieve them. But they do not, and will never, completely define the sum total of what a good education ought to provide.”

“Shame on this continued dogmatic grading of academic qualifications! The route through academic progress should be varied and valid too!”

“Nor are they a binary predictor that someone will succeed or fail in life; ambition and aspiration backed by hard work are better predictors of success in life than any single result on one exam on one day.”

“I think that Uganda is wrong to punish slow learners because some people perform better with maturity. Most of our people who had no qualifications whatsoever are professionals in Developed nations such as US and Europe. It’s what you can be tested now that matters other than what tests you flanked in the past. I feel it’s wrong indeed to continue demanding for lower level qualification when someone goes ahead to score highly in subsequent level or grading.”

“Otherwise most Registered Nurses and engineers in most developed nations like the US and UK, through the technical colleges improve such people and they eventually become better professional than the A-list students!”

“Some of these people had their primary leaving examinations under war situations. No one has bothered to check out rural school conditions, let alone those in war torn areas!”