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Progress or Foolishness?: 20 Year Old Parliamentarian

Proscovia Alengot Oromait

Proscovia Alengot Oromait

Proscovia Alengot Oromait is the youngest member of Parliament in Uganda and in Africa ever. At 20 years old she is now Member of Parliament (MP) for Usuk County, Katakwi District. Ms. Oromait was 19 when she was elected following the death of her father Michael Oromait who served MP for the same parliamentary seat before his death 21 July 2012.

Following her father’s death in 2012 Ms. Oromait decided to contest the National Resistance Movement primary elections to replace her father, who had served as an Independent and won the primary. In the general elections in September 2012, she won with 54.2% of the vote. She is currently studying at Uganda Christian University in Mukono for a Bachelor of Mass Communication.

While her achievement is impressive and courageous, one is tempted to ask if electing a teenager is progress or foolishness? Most teenagers around the world and Uganda is no exception have a limited concept of an idealistic world because they have often been sheltered by their parents and the four walls of the classroom. While we are happy for her tremendous achievement it would not be fair to avoid the question of whether her maturity is adequate for Parliament. Before feminists explode about discrimination I have to clarify that the question would apply even if it was a 19 year old male teenager.

 

As voters we look for the same qualities in our Parliamentarians such as maturity, experience, courage, integrity. It is fair to say that it is hard to have all of those qualities or to know that you have them if they have never been tested. I do not want to be too harsh on the young lady because it is certainly an accomplishment to win a Parliamentary seat at 19 but maybe the only thing we can say is, ‘We wish her success”. Success not for herself only but for her constituents who believed in her.

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