Home News Afro Briefs Originally published September 20, 2012

19-Year-Old Girl Becomes Uganda’s Youngest Parliament Rep. Ever

by Brittany Buchanan
Special to the AFRO

    In this photo taken Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, Proscovia Oromait, 19, campaigns during a rally at the Usuku Sub County headquarters in Katakwi district, north of the capital Kampala, in Uganda. Oromait, fresh out of high school, has won a seat in Uganda's parliament, adding to the ruling party's majority but embarrassing some who say her success lowers expectations of lawmakers in the East African country. (AP Photo)
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Mixed emotions flowed through Uganda as a 19 year old recent high school graduate occupied the vacancy in that country’s parliament left by her father’s death.

Proscovia Oromait will represent the impoverished county of Usuk in the Teso Sub-Region of Uganda, where there is only one efficient high school. Usuk has become the key battleground in President Yoweri Museveni’s ruling party’s mission to claim a win in the coming election.

“I am a bit concerned and taken aback because of her lack of experience and lack of exposure. This is not a constituency you want to give a child of that age to shoulder,” said the ruling party’s deputy chairman, Michael Mukula, according to The Washington Post.

Museveni and his party lost seven of eight parliamentary elections this year, which increased the necessity of a win in this election. Oromait’s ascension has been seen as a sympathy ploy and an attempt to boost the president’s popularity. Museveni’s ruling party has been criticized for their eagerness to use violence to retain power.

Museveni came in to power by force in 1986. He has been challenged to step down and begin the first peaceful transfer of power in Uganda’s history.

“She is a victim of these circumstances,” Nicholas Opio, a Ugandan political analyst, told the Post. “I don’t think she was prepared for this. She had even never voted.”

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