Today’s Uganda top fifty women movers

Tuesday March 8 2011

Janet Museveni, Nagginda Nnabagereka and Amelia Kyambadde

Janet Museveni, Nagginda Nnabagereka and Amelia Kyambadde 


Janet Museveni
First Lady, MP for Ruhaama and State minister in charge of Karamoja region
The first Lady is regarded as a major influence on a number of political issues as an MP and minister. She has a lot of influence in the evangelical movement in the country and on HIV/Aids issues. She is also the founder of UWESO in support of the many orphans.

Winnie Byanyima
Ms Byanyima, 51, is far more renowned today for her political activism and work with the United Nation. However, she first distinguished herself as Uganda’s first female aeronautical engineering graduate. She later earned a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering. Thereafter, she joined the Yoweri Museveni-led National Resistance Army (NRA) rebel group against her father’s advice and served as an outspoken legislator. She married Col. (rtd) Kizza Besigye in the late 1990s has played a leading role in opposition politics to-date, juggling it with her work first at the African Union and then at the United Nations. Winnie was awarded a Uganda heroes’ medal, Nalubaale, in June 2010 for her contribution to the 1981-1986 NRA bush war.

Amelia Kyambadde
Former principal private secretary to the president, MP Mawokota County
Ms Kyambadde was part of the President’s inner circle for over 30 years. She would determine which people and which documents Mr Museveni sees, implicitly controlling the outcomes. She is currently MP elect for Mawokota County in Mpigi district, but inner circles indicate that she still carries out her PPS job and is said to be destined for a big job in the Cabinet that constitute make Museveni’s fourth term.

Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire
Minister of education
Ms Bitamazire who has been synonymous with free education hence people calling her ‘Mama UPE’, is an educator and a politician. She has for several years presided over a ministry with the biggest budget and she directs policies responsible for shaping the country’s human capital. Although she just lost her seat as Woman MP Mpigi District, Ms Bitamazire has served in almost all regimes before President Museveni’s.

Miria Obote
Widow to the first President Milton Obote
Miria became the first woman to run for President in Uganda’s history. She commands a small but passionate following of UPC loyalists.
Syda Bbumba
Minister of Finance
Appointed in early 2009, Syda Bbumba is Uganda’s first female Minister of Finance. She took on the ministry at a time when economic down turn was very high. There had been rising fuel, prices of major commodities but she made policies that stood the rough tides. She has since presented two national budgets.


Rebecca Kadaga
Deputy Speaker
A lawyer and politician, Kadaga has been Deputy Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament since 2001. She is also the current Member of Parliament (MP) for Kamuli District which she has been since 1989. Ms Kadaga is also the second national vice chairman of the ruling NRM party representing the eastern region. She is known as a king maker in Busoga politics. She is the sixth most powerful person in the country after the chief Justice.

Josephine Kasya
Known as the governor of Kanungu District, Ms Kasya is the first Ugandan woman to head a district. She has promoted education of both parents and children in the district, as well as improved childcare and nutrition.

Serina Nebada
Butaleja Woman MP-Elect
The Makerere University fresh graduate beat Minister without portfolio and NRM’s deputy secretary General Dorothy Hyuha in Butaleja district in the recent elections. She is a young politician to watch.

Beatrice Anywar
Kitgum Woman MP
She is also known as Mama Mabira, after the forest she saved from government sale which brought her into the limelight. She has since earned many accolades both local and international as a shadow minister of water and environment in the opposition cabinet.

Banking, business and economy
Edigold Monday
Managing Director, Bank of Africa

When Edigold Monday was appointed the managing director of Bank of Africa-Uganda in December 2010, she became the first Ugandan woman to head a major bank in the country. Ms Monday started out as an accountant trainee at Centenary Bank and would later rise to become the acting Chief Executive Officer of Global Trust Bank before becoming full-time chief executive at Bank of Africa-Uganda.

Allen Kagina
Commissioner General, URA
Ms Kagina’s management has turned the tax authority around by doing administrative restructuring at URA, merging some of the 11 departments in a bid to improve its efficiency. Then she oversaw the automation of operations at the tax authority as part of an effort to purge tax leakages and improve its operations. The tax authority has since consistently performed above target in all but two financial years from 2004/5.
Josephine Okot
Managing Director and proprietor of Victoria Seeds Ltd.
She started the seed company in December 2003 and it has since grown in leaps and bounds. Ms Okot won the 2007 YARA Prize for a green revolution in Africa for her entrepreneurial excellence and ability to work at many levels, from on-the-ground initiatives to strategy and policy.

Sylvia Owori
Proprietor, Sylvie’s Boutique & African Woman
Sylvia Owori has in the last decade done nearly every business related to the fashion industry. Currently, she owns her own label Sylvia Owori, selling exclusively in her Sylvie’s Boutique. She is also the publisher of African Woman with the Kenyan edition. Ms Owori’s work has won wide recognition, including an opportunity to design the Nokia Face of Africa finalists’ outfit in 2001 and to create costumes for the main characters of the film The Last King of Scotland.

Dr Maggie Kigozi
Executive Director, UIA
Dr Maggie Kigozi has won a lot of acclaim for selling Uganda as a potential investment destination to foreign investors, in her capacity as her as executive director of Uganda Investment Authority – a job she has carried out diligently for the last 11 years. She has also served over the years as the Chancellor of Nkumba University, Chief Scout of the Uganda Scouts Association, Director of the Uganda Export Promotions Board and Crown Beverages, and Focal Point Officer of the Africa Asia Business Forum.


Maria Kiwanuka
She launched Radio One FM 90, 14 years ago with a catchy phrase, “Great songs…Great Memories.” This was a first in many ways; it was the first FM station to be headed by a woman and the first to have oldies’ music as the station’s constant format. She opened Akaboozi Ku Bbiri, 87.9FM, a Luganda station and her latest step is creating a YouTube channel for Radio One’s popular talk show, Spectrum making Radio One the first radio station in Uganda to incorporate online programming. Again Kiwanuka proves her worth as a pioneering woman.

Barbara Kaija
The New Vision Editor-in-Chief
When the New Vision Editor in Chief Els de Temmerman resigned in 2010, she was replaced by her deputy, Kaija--the first Uganda woman to rise to that position.
Margret Masagazi
She has been involved in information and media work for over 20 years, from writing for The Nation newspaper, to editing news on Uganda Television and organising programs on Radio Uganda. Her forte has mainly been championing women’s causes through civic education, lobbying and advocacy. Currently Masagazi is the Executive Director of Uganda Media Women’s Association.

Irene Zikusooka
UTV back in the days had a shining star called Irene Zikusooka. She had style and a way with words while presenting on TV. She was one of those that kept many glued on UTV. She pioneered female presenting.

Esther Kazinda, aka, Eseza Omuto
Ever since time immemorial, a female voice has dominated Radio Uganda on Sunday afternoons, for more than two decades. That voice is of an old lady who curiously goes by the names of Eseza Omuto. She also presents the show on WBS Television which is very popular with the children

Pace setters/ ground breakers

Dr Specioza Kazibwe
The first female Vice President in Africa, Kazibwe became a pace setter for female politicians in Museveni’s government. She became the longest serving VP for nine years. She now heads the micro finance support centre and remains an influential politician in Busoga politics.

Rhoda Kalema
Born in 1930, Ms Kalema has been a revolutionary and an advocate for women’s emancipation. She pioneered the Women’s Movement in Uganda and was with Namirembe Bitamazire, in the National Consultative Council. She was a minister for public service and cabinet affairs. In 2009, she was given a hero’s medal on independence celebrations.

Sarah Nyendwoha Ntiro
The first woman university graduate in East and Central Africa, she has been used as a tool to encourage girls to pursue their dreams in life. She is an achiever and a trailblazer in female education in Uganda and East Africa.
Justice Laeticia Kikonyogo
Retired Supreme Court judge
She was a pace setter as the first female deputy chief justice and remains an influential person in the judiciary, even after her retirement.


Susan Muwonge
The year was 2007 and a 30-year-old St Francis Junior school teacher stepped into a rally car and to the amazement of seasoned drivers the likes of Ponsiono Lwakataka and fans emerged a respectable 5th. The face of Ugandan rallying had been changed forever courtesy of the Super Lady. She is still rallying and has given many men a run for their money.

Uganda had had a 33-year wait for an athletics world title. It was broken in 2005 by a woman in Helsinki, Finland when she got the gold in the Commonwealth games. Her name was Dorcus Inzikuru and while many think her running days her over, she says otherwise.

Peninah Kabenge
She has played basketball, badminton, netball, hockey, represented Uganda in track athletics, woodball and basketball. Currently, she’s the Senior Sports Tutor at Makerere University and the Head of the Sports and Recreation Department.

Florence Nkalubo
She has a trophy named after her, the Nkalubo Cup. She’s the chairman of the Uganda Women Football Association. It’s a body promoting and championing women’s football in Uganda.

Joyce Ssebugwawo
Ms Ssebugwawo is a former secretary for women in Kampala District, a position she held for 10 years, as well as a former minister in the Buganda government. When her tenure at Mengo ended, Ms Ssebugwawo ventured into elective politics as a member of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). She was elected Deputy Chairperson for Central Region.
Her luck however ran out during the by-election for the Rubaga Division LC III seat, where she lost to Peter Ssematimba.
Nevertheless, she remains an influential power broker in FDC and the central region and was one of the leaders of the FDC women who held a series of demonstrations last year, calling for a change of leadership at the Electoral Commission.


Prof. Mary Okwakol
Vice Chancellor, Busitema University, is said to be a lady with several "firsts" in her life, Okwakol is the first woman Vice Chancellor of a Public University in Uganda, as well as the first woman Professor of Zoology at Makerere University. She is currently Chairperson of the Fawe Uganda Chapter and an honorary secretary of the Fawe Board.

Prof. Joy Kwesiga
Also the vice chancellor of Kabale University, Kwesiga is the founder of ACFODE; a national women’s’ NGO. She has received many awards both local and international for her advocacy in women development.

Prof. Lilian Tibatemwa
She was the first woman to acquire the award of full Professorship of Law in East Africa. Currently the deputy vice-chancellor, academic affairs, at Makerere University, Tibatemwa became a full professor in June 2009

Assoc. Prof. Pamela Mbabazi
She is the founder of the faculty of development studies at the Mbarara University of science and Technology. She is the university’s deputy vice chancellor and a role model to the young university students.

Dr Florence Ssajabi
She is the Uganda Christian University deputy vice chancellor in charge of finance and administration which position makes her influential in the education sector.

Dr Florence Muranga
The first time President Museveni tasted a banana biscuit, it was made by Dr Muranga. She is the director of Presidential Initiative for Banana Industrial Development. She is a lecturer at Makerere University, in the Department of Food Science & Technology, and she has won ‘the Presidential Scientific Innovation Excellence Award for the 2005/2006 Presidential Science Award Cycle.’


Julia Ssebutinde
A Ugandan judge at The Hague, Sebutinde is also a name in the judiciary to reckon with.

Justice Faith Mwondha
The first female Inspector General of Government Faith was unmatched in her passion for outing public officials who put their hands in the till. Currently a resident judge at the High Court in Nakawa, Mwondha had become controversial with her clashes with Parliament and most government officials besides the media.

Alice Mpagi Bahigeine
The lady justice Mpagi Bahigeine is the Deputy Chief Justice. She is a very influential woman in the judiciary and she is the seventh most important person in the country.

Stella Arach Amako
The Lady Justice is the head of the Commercial Court of Judicature.

Social Work/Activists
Angelina Wapakhabulo
She is Uganda’s Ambassador to Kenya.
The widow of former deputy prime minister and Speaker of Parliament, James Wapakhabulo, has served her adopted home in different capacities. Ms Wapakhabulo, 62, who hails from Tanzania, distinguished herself as a social worker. Fondly known as Mama Angelina, she spent the better part of her life fighting HIV/Aids and taking care of orphans and vulnerable children.

Dr Sylvia Rosila Tamale
Dr Tamale was elected the first Dean of Law at Makerere University in 2004. Dr Tamale who holds a PhD in Sociology and Feminist Studies from the University of Minessota, founded and serves as coordinator of the Law, Gender and Sexuality Project at Makerere University. She has lectured at several universities, including Cape Town, Pretoria, Wisconsin and Zimbabwe.

Miria Koburunga Matembe
Ms Matembe, 58, served as a Minister of Ethics and Integrity from 1998 to 2003. She was dropped from Cabinet after speaking out against a plan to remove term limits in the 1995 Constitution. Right from 1989 when she became a member of the National Resistance Council, Ms Matembe was a strong advocate for women’s rights. She has also served as a member of the Pan African Parliament. She continues to advocate for women’s rights and is a co-founder of the Action for Development, a leading women’s advocacy organisation.

Noerine Kaleeba
As a co-founder of The Aids Support Organisation (Taso) in 1986, Ms Kaleeba made her mark in helping to pioneer the HIV/Aids care model that was later adopted by several countries across the world. Ms Kaleeba worked as the Executive Director of Taso for eight years until her retirement in 1995. She currently works as a programme development adviser for Africa for the “Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (Unaids).

Security/ police/ army

Lt Col Proscovia Nalweyiso
She is a military assistant in the President’s office, has been Presidential advisor on security. She is part of a team of fighters for the Luweero triangle.
Lt. Col. Annette Nkalubo
She is a director of women affairs in the UPDF
Elizabeth Muwanga
Acting Director of Police Welfare, she has worked before as OC Station Jinja, Staff Officer South Eastern region, Quarter Master at Police Stores, Deputy Commissioner of Police, United Nations Mission In Darfur.
Olivia Wawire
A senior Superintendent of Police, she has been a RPC, South-western and worked in Fire Brigade as the only female as Community Liaison Officer, in Child and Family Protection Unit, among other deployments.
Alalo Christine
Superintendent of Police
She is the acting commissioner in charge Child and family Protection. She has served in the Police force for 10 years and held different positions in different departments.