What you need to know:
- When Joyce Bagala lost the first election in 2016, Archbishop Kaziimba and Yusuf Nsibambi, a lawyer and friend, advised her not to go to court. She decided to utilise the last five-year political term to interact more with the electorate.
Joyce Bagala is a faithful journalist who loves her job and the people she serves, and is very passionate about her work. As a granddaughter of a clergyman, she keeps a close relationship with the church.
I pray that in her new calling she continues to fear God and serves faithfully,” Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu wrote about the incoming Woman Member of Parliament (MP) for Mityana District when asked for a comment by this reporter.
Bagala hails from the Ntwatwa family which is well known in Mityana. Her maternal grandfather, the Rev William Ssewanyana Katula, is the former Mityana diocesan secretary while her paternal grandfather, Petero Ntwatwa, served as the speaker of the Buganda Lukiiko (Parliament).
Part of her motivation to participate in elective politics is in respect of keeping the family legacy alive.
She was announced winner in the recently concluded elections and is slated to replace Information and Communications Technology (ICT) minister Judith Nabakooba. This is Bagala’s second shot at elective politics, having stood in 2016 and lost.
Advised against going to court
When Bagala lost the first election in 2016, Archbishop Kaziimba and Yusuf Nsibambi, a lawyer and friend, advised her not to go to court.
She decided to utilise the last five-year political term to interact more with the electorate. Through organisations, she has skilled women, reached out to the orphaned, talking to girls about the importance of staying in school and has used her journalism profession to highlight issues affecting people in Mityana District, including land conflicts, lack of clean water in many areas, prevalent poverty, non-communicable diseases, among others.
Bagala, who won on the National Unity Party (NUP) party ticket, is glad that she will now serve them as an elected leader.
“The will of the people has been heard. I am now reflecting on the issues of the electorate and moulding on what lays ahead and how to deliver on the promises to them. This is not necessarily my personal victory, it is a win for the entire district,” the MP-elect explains.
She says it has been a hotly contested election, one which was characterised with a lot of mudslinging from competitors who utilised social media platforms to spread allegations aimed at character assassinating her.
“There is a particular person who abused me every day for five months, peddling lies and harmful propaganda. There were people who clearly handled various media platforms to abuse me. Interestingly, when I was declared winner, some people in my opponent’s camp called me to admit defeat. I thank God I was able to go through it all,” Bagala says.
Bagala began her practice at Beat FM in Kamwokya before moving to Budu FM in Masaka, later on Sanyu FM then Radio One and NBS Television where she has reported, anchored and served in managerial capacity.
Radio and television made her popular. She used the media to highlight the issues of people as a tool of pushing those in positions of authority and power to act.
“I was tear gassed, not once, not twice. I was able to see first-hand poor people who can hardly afford a meal a day. These were some of the people who were determined to see change. They would openly tell me that they had been bribed but were going to vote for change,” the journalist-cum-politician shares about her experience from the recently concluded campaigns.
She is irked that the healthcare system is poor and mothers continue to die due to an ineffective maternal health system that doesn’t need much to fix and save lives.
“It is ironic that at the start of the campaign, some roads in the district were poor but have since been graded. We need to push more and harder for better services because government had not considered fixing roads, some since the 1980s,” she says.
“I have stood by the people and promised to stay in touch and with them. Plus, people have been more enlightened about their power and the power of their vote and protecting it.”
High on her agenda is monitoring government projects and holding those in charge accountable. She is intent on keeping in touch with her people on grounds, in constituencies as well as working with other MPs to have enough quorum to push for improvement of roads to enable farmers in Busunju find ease in transporting their produce to key market places in urban centres.
Mityana is constituted by Mityana North, South, Municipality and Busujju. Many of the areas in the constituencies lack power.
“The people of Mityana love, trust and support me. They believe that I can represent them better so I had to stand. They actually made sure that I contest,” she adds.