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Parliament praises Joyce Mpanga for her leadership role

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Parliament has this afternoon paid tribute to the former Minister Joyce Rovincer Mpanga.

Mrs Mpanga died on Saturday November 18, 2023. She will be laid to rest at her ancestral home on Thursday in Maya, Wakiso district.

The motion to honour her was moved by the 3rd Deputy Prime Minister Lukia Isanga Nakadama and seconded by the Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga.

Nakadama described Mpanda as a dedicated leader, an advocate of women equality, who diligently served her country. Her enduring dedication to public service was further evident in her role as a member of the Buganda kingdom where she continued to advocate for the interests of her community.

“In 2019, she authored the book titled ‘It’s a pity she is not the boy’ in which she came out strongly to inspire rural girls emphasizing that their aspirations hold immense value irrespective of their humble beginnings. We showed unwavering commitment to empowering young women and girls to better citizens,” Nakadama said.

LoP Mpuuga stated that Mpanga was a lone champion of women rights. One of the first women to be nominated to the National Assembly, the first African woman lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Makerere University, first graduate with a master’s degree. First Minister of Women Affairs in Uganda.

He said her contribution to Uganda’s education sector cannot be left behind. She served in different capacities rising from a classroom teacher to becoming a minister and to advocate for specifically girl child education.

“The deceased has been a key pillar in the process of democratizing Uganda. Suddenly, like many as we speak today, our efforts to democratize our country are being undermined by the incumbent rulers through unconscionable amendments to the Constitution, impunity, and outright disregard of the rule of law. I want to remind you that some of the very crucial things that prompted Mpanga to go into exile are in existence today,” he said.

John Muyingo, the State Minister for Higher Education said the cruel hand of death has robbed this country of a distinct educationist, a great parent to many people, a role model and a performer.

He stated that the deceased greatly contributed to the formulation of policies in the Ministry of Education. We recognize her as a distinguished educationist, parent, teacher who inspired many of us.

“I don’t remember when she used insulting, abusive language as it happens these days. We shall remember her as a distinct educationist, a charitable person and a strong advocate of gender equality, inclusive and a pioneer of affirmative action,” he said.

Celia Ogwal noted that as women they should appreciate this session because it has allowed them to appreciate the role a woman can play if she’s given an opportunity.

“The whole of Africa is mourning the daughter of Uganda who has fallen and whose memory has brought us together. She was a dear friend, a freedom fighter, a dedicated wife, a widow who fed children without begging anywhere, a woman who has demonstrated that if you give me education I can do anything over and above what a man can do,” she said.

According to the Minister for Presidency Milly Babalanda, the deceased will be accorded an official burial.

Mpanga began her career as a teacher at Makerere College in 1958 and deputy headmistress of Gayaza High School in 1962. During her time in Makerere, Mpanga was elected onto the Uganda Legislative Council in 1960. Mpanga left for England in exile a year after the 1966 attack of Lubiri and returned to Uganda in 1972. While in England, she was an elementary school teacher.

In 1988, Mpanga became Uganda’s first Minister of Women in Development and was succeeded by Gertrude Byekwaso Lubega. The following year, she was named Minister of State for Primary Education and held this position until 1991. Apart from serving in the cabinet of Uganda, Mpanga was also a Member of Parliament for the Mubende District from 1996 to 2001.

In between her political positions, she took part in the rewriting of the Constitution of Uganda in 1995. In 2009, Mpanga became a member of the Lukiko for Buwekula and was a representative of women for Buganda’s parliament since 2011. 

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