News of the death of outspoken Butaleja Woman MP, Cerinah Nebanda, on Friday evening came as a shock.
A few Members of Parliament have died in the past but none of them captured the country's imagination the way this young, bubbly and courageous MP has. That can be explained by the fact that not only was she very young, aged just 24, her death was almost sudden as she was not known to be sick.
More so, as one of the so-called NRM "rebel MPs", she was a very active, vocal and critical legislator, which made her stand out.
Given her tender age and the fact that she was a first-term parliamentarian, one would have expected Nebanda to be timid and reserved, like many of her senior colleagues, but not this young woman. She hit the ground running after entering Parliament like she had been an MP for many years, making her more famous than some ministers.
The fact that she tended to identify with and forcefully push for popular causes made her quite prominent. Nebanda was not afraid to question authority. She was not afraid to defy her political party if she believed it was wrong. Her principled politics should inspire youth who are often regarded as tools of older politicians to exploit.
Critics have labelled her reckless but every individual has shortcomings and she could not have been perfect. What matters most is whether she followed her conscience in the positions that she took.
We cannot go into what could have caused her death as it is perhaps too early to tell, and besides, that is the domain of the more competent investigative agencies. We can only hope that the truth emerges sooner rather than later for her family to get closure.
It has been said that what matters is not how long one has lived but, rather, what one did with the period that he or she spent on earth. Nebanda has undoubtedly achieved in 24 years what many people will never achieve in 90 years. She will surely be missed.
May her soul rest in peace.