Parliament pays tribute to first woman lawmaker

The Late Alice Florence Lubega, who joined Parliament in May 1962, was a champion of women emancipation. PHOTO | PARLIAMENT

What you need to know:

  • Lubega was a daughter of the former Buganda premier, Samuel Wamala, and Erina Nantongo. She was also among the first females to be admitted to Makerere College School before joining Oxford University.

Parliament yesterday paid tribute to Alice Florence Lubega, the first Woman Member of Parliament, who passed away last week aged 103. She would have celebrated her 104th birthday on November 5. 

The former legislator joined Parliament in May 1962, paving way for other female legislators.

Ms Robinah Nabbanja, the Prime Minister, who moved the motion for the tribute, said it was important to recognise the contribution of the deceased to the country, especially in fronting the rights of women.

“She was a role model for the girl-child, an inspirational leader and an advocate for women emancipation and empowerment,” Ms Nabbanja said. 

Her motion was seconded by other MPs.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, chairs the plenary as MPs pay tribute to the late Alice Florence Lubega, the first Woman Member of Parliament yesterday. PHOTO | DAVID LUBOWA

The Deputy Speaker, Ms Anita Among, said President Museveni had been a personal friend to Lubega and had recognised her efforts from time to time.  

“No wonder he [Museveni] has given her official burial,” Ms Anita said.

“The President has been supportive to the late Florence and has recognised her in a number of women functions. She is actually the icon of the girl-child education,’’ she added.

The Leader of Opposition, Mr Mathias Mpuuga, said her life experiences offered MPs the opportunity to mirror the lives of individuals in public life.

He said the fact that the bulk of her [Lubega] life after Parliament was lived in Exile was a huge indication on how the politics are run in the country.

“It should really be a lesson enough to educate us enough on the circumstances that exiled her. I am very sure that no single citizen would love to live a life away from his or her people,” he said.

Ms Lubega fled to exile in the United Kingdom (UK) after the 1971 military coup that introduced the Idi Amin rule. Upon her return to the country years later, she devoted her life to Christianity.

Ms Betty Amongi, the Gender minister, said: “Her [Lubega] journey has not been in vain because women emancipation is being achieved even amid challenges.” 

Meanwhile, Mr Joseph Ssewungu, the Kalungu West County MP (NUP), said it was important to celebrate such women while they were still alive.

“Some of us never knew this lady, but because God blessed her with 103 years, something seems very important. However Hon Speaker, whenever I come on the floor, I still insist that such people are known and that there is a creation of the council of elders who can advise the Head of State,” he said.