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Cecilia Ogwal, Parliamentarian, Democrat, Diplomat to Be Buried :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Cecilia Ogwal, Parliamentarian, Democrat, Diplomat to Be Buried

Cecilia Ogwal has been mourned by the opposition, the independent in Parliament, the women of Uganda, President Museveni and his ruling NRM party.
26 Jan 2024 12:42
Cecilia-Ogwal

Audio 15

Cecilia Atim Barbara Ogwal, one of the longest-serving female Ugandan Parliamentarians, will be laid to rest on Saturday. Glowing tributes about her political career have been heard and will be said further amplified as she finally gets laid to rest

. Imat or Atat Cecilia Ogwal died on 18 January 2024 at in India where she had gone for specialized cancer treatment.  

Unlike in the past when some Ugandans across the political divide or among ordinary citizens have come up to mock or in jubilation when some prominent person died, Cecilia Ogwal has been mourned by the opposition, the independent in Parliament, the women of Uganda, President Museveni and his ruling NRM party. 

Cecilia sharply opposed and critiqued Museveni and his policies each time she has the opportunity to do so.  Cecilia Ogwal died at 77. 

One time she demanded a medal from her political nemesis, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni saying she had played a role in ensuring that the rights of women, the girl child were upheld.   

At her death, it emerged that Cecilia Ogwal who like Margaret Thatcher of the UK declared that she was the only “Man” among the men was always patriotic” when it came to issues to do with Uganda even when she disagreed with Museveni.   Cecilia Ogwal the Patriot/ Nationalist          

As the Parliament of Uganda paid tribute to Cecilia Ogwal, many MPS said she was patriot and nationalist. But Dr. Abed Bwanika was not comfortable with describing her as a nationalist. He argued being a nationalist had some negative connotations. 

“I think she was patriot that is the right description of Hon Cecilia Ogwal” Said Bwanika.

///Cue in” It is important….   

Cue Out…..practiced politics that is through”///  

Was she a patriot?

Around June of July 2023, Cecilia Ogwal was one of the Members of parliament that accompanied the Deputy Speaker of Parliament to Brussels for the EU/ Africa Caribbean Pacific countries conference. The delegation had other members like Bahir Kazibwe, Theodore Sekikubo, Moses Kibalya and others. 

The issues of the Anti-Homosexuality Act and Human rights reportedly came up and that Cecilia stood up and vigorously to defend Uganda. Back in Parliament, Kasanda Woman MP, Flavia Nabagabe said she has faced dilemma on whether to defend Uganda at international fora even when abuses like torture were happening. 

“When you mention here that whenever we go out there on those missions, we are fronting the interests or key diplomatic missions of the country, I struggle to understand the relevance of opposition political members in those particular international parliaments” said Nabagabe

. Nabagabe forced Cecilia Ogwal to stand to catch the Speaker’s eye. Cecilia Ogwal used that occasion to defend and explain herself why she never spoke ill of her country either at the Pan Africa Parliament, Inter-Parliamentary Union or at other international conferences.  URN captured those quotes as bellow:      

Cecilia’s Quotes on Patriotism

“We carry a different identity when we are outside the country. When we are here, we are Ugandans and we speak like Ugandans”  

“I can decide to speak in Lango now if I want because I am in Uganda. If you say you do not understand, I will say you are stupid. Why do you want me to speak Luganda when you cannot speak Lango because we are speaking in Uganda?”  

“When we are outside there, nobody knows Lango or Luganda so we have to tailor our - Iam not asking anybody to applaud what I am saying, I just want you to understand what I am saying. (Laughter)   “Mr Speaker, we need space in order to understand what we are supposed to do outside the country and this is what I am just pleading for. We need to understand each other”   What Did Other MPS Say of Cecelia Ogwal?

She used to debate with a lot of humor remembers Major General Jim Muhwezi with whom she served right from the sixth parliament. “I wish we turned this House into a debate of ideas. Where we disagree on ideas and debate on ideas

” ////Cue In “She hated injustice….. 

Cue Out….into a debate of ideas”///

Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu has confessed how Cecilia Ogwal, Dr. Okulo Epak, Patrick Mwondah and Ben Wacha lured him into politics. He said Cecilia Ogwal never looked at herself as a woman. She looked at herself as a leader,” said Katuntu. 

///Cue In “She led a team of use…. Cue Out….but as a leaders”/// And while debating in Parliament Katuntu expressed the wish that parliament did what Cecilia believed in. ///Cue In “I hear you people….. Cue Out….why don’t we do it?”///

And then like Nobert Mao, Katuntu said Cecilia Ogwal unlike present female politicians played her feminine role including giving more children than the average female politician would do.  

/////Cue In “ She was ready 

Cue Out…on this”//

Former Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, also one of the few remaining longest-serving women Parliamentarian revealed how she once feared to travel with Cecilia thinking that the UPC “Iron Lady” who later crossed to the FDC party would expose Museveni’s administration at international gatherings.

“I was worried that what she is going to say at this meeting. But when we got there she said madam I’m a Ugandan. I will never speak against my country. And throughout her tenure, this is what she did. She would attack anyone who was trying to attack Uganda. I credit her for that,” said Kadaga. 

Kadaga remembers that the late Cecilia Ogwal relentlessly campaigned for multiparty democracy in Uganda. 

///Cue in “Cecilia campaigned and….

Cue Out….this is Ogwal I’m here”///  

Cecilia indeed always proudly spoke about her fight for multiparty democracy.

///Cue In " And for me

Cue Out.....it was between me and my God"///

Cecilia Ogwal, Kadaga, and Anifa Bangirana Kawoya have been the only women from the Constituent who were in the current Parliament.  Anifa Bangirana Kawoya remembers that Cecilia Ogwal was a unifying factor among women at the Constituent Assembly.

///Cue IN “She culmed all ….. 

Cue Out….as women”///

Ndorwa MP, David Bahati remembers that Cecilia Ogwal was a very prayerful person. 

///Cue in “Madam Speake.

Cue Out….fear or favor”///

It is said that sometimes she used the power of prayers to cool down tempers at meetings. And to Norbert Mao with whom she was in the Sixth Parliament, Cecilia Ogwal was like a mirror for many. 

///Cue In “All of us whether…. 

Cue Out…powerful women don’t have husbands.”///     

Cecilia Ogwal in her Voice     Cecilia Ogwal served in all the Parliament right from the sixth Parliament after the promulgation of the 1995 constitution. We captured her take her oaths after she was reelected to represent Dokolo in the current parliament.

////Cue In “I Atim Ogwal Cecilia …..

Cue Out….so help me God”///

She then took the oath of allegiance 

///Cue IN “ I Atim Ogwal Cecilia Barbra….

Cue Out….help me God”///

After the oath, she told Journalist taut she was happy to the people of Dakolo and Ugandans at large. 

/// Cue In “ Well I can only say…… 

Cue Out…that concern the people of Uganda”/// 

She had been a voice of the voiceless. Parliament records indicate that had moved over five thousand motions in the House. One of those included a motion to allow older persons or the elderly to be represented in Parliament.

/// Cue In “We need to focus on gender…. Cue Out ……. 

Who are elderly/// As she rests, Cecilia Ogwal is remembered for mentoring many women politicians to balance family and politics.

Cue In “Men are very sensitive...

Cue Out…dont bring it to the house.”///        

  There are times when Cecilia would speak toughly in Parliament especially when she demanded accountability. One such occasion is when Celina Nebanda the youthful Woman MP for Butaleja died saddened. It was suspected that she had been poisoned.    

///Cue IN “ The Content of the ….            Cue Out.. They get the sample///  

She detested being enslaved in her country.

May Her Soul Rest in Eternal Peace.     

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