President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni has revealed his wife Janet, unlike his late mother Esteeri Kokundeka, has never carried a baby, firewood or water as he attempted to emphasize the need for social economic transformation.
In his address at State House Entebbe as Uganda marked International Women’s Day, Museveni explained that transforming the lives of women in the rural areas should be the focus of all leaders.
He added that changing the lives of these women to the level where Janet Museveni has been since he has known her would go along way in reducing diseases, save time and improve living standards.
“I’m very happy that I have been able to jump socio-economically and transformed myself and proof of that is my wife here and my mother. Janet here has never carried a baby on her back; the children were pushed in the prams. We should stop wasting time talking and talking. Janet is here, it’s not fiction, she’s not a horse,” Museveni said.
“She has never carried water on her head. She never cut or carried firewood on her head, even in exile in Tanzania. She has never swept the house. These days she supervises others to to do it. This one has never gone out, that she is looking for the address [outside latrine]. We are talking about social economic transformation.”
He urged leaders to ensure that “the village, traditional, even the quasi-educated woman” are helped to jump to the ladder of transformation by facilitating their involvement in commercial agriculture, industry, services and ICT.
“My main message is social economic transformation. Let’s help them, they spend hours in the bush looking for firewood, they get bilharzia going to fetch water from the river and swamps,” added the president.
“The difference between Europe and you people is social economic transformation which they started about 200 years ago. They were living like us. If you talk about legal without social economic transformation, you don’t move.”
The president further praised his government’s action to prioritise affirmative action for women.
“If you really want women to have a voice, you can’t go by one person one vote, you will have inbuilt marginalization. That is why the NRM thought of affirmative action,” he noted.
“How would the women come up if we had not kubabegyera [put aside positions for them] on affirmative action?”