31 January 2013

Uganda: Babe of the Week - FDC Girl Has No Time for Boys

At a glance, Doreen Nyanjura is simply a lanky belle with chocolate skin.

However, she is also the spirited young woman that graced our TVs during the walk-to-work affair, when Makerere University students visited former Forum for Democratic Change president, Kizza Besigye, who was under house arrest.

Extending her hand to greet me, I immediately noticed blue painted fingernails and on any day, be sure to catch them blue.

In a fitting grey trouser suit and black high heels, she motioned me to follow her to the interview venue at Jubilee Insurance restaurant. Being the celebrity that she is, I could not help but watch her greet several people on the 10-metre walk. I also noticed that she was visual food for spectators.

In fact, before we sat down for the interview, a daring fan approached her and said he wanted to buy her book, 'Is it the fundamental change? Unveiling the hidden truth'. He also asked me to take a photo of him with Nyanjura. Nyanjura's rise to fame was born of a desire to educate youths on the ills of the government.

"When we were writing this book, I did a lot of research and noticed that the youth are being sustained on propaganda and the promised prosperity for all is just a hoax," she said with determination in her eyes.

It is her book about government's unfulfilled promises that landed her five days in Luzira prison last year. Despite prison and threats, Nyanjura pledges to encourage more youths to join the struggle. Previously, Nyanjura served as the FDC general secretary, Makerere chapter, between 2009 and 2010 and guild vice president between 2010 and 2011.

During her tenure, she led a hunger strike and donated a potty to police who had used Dr Kizza Besigye's home grounds as a restroom at the inception of walk-to-work campaign in 2011 -- a gesture that ruffled Kampala North Director of Operations Sam Omala's feathers.

"Lecturers were not paid and as a student leader, I had to act," she explained.

In her political career spanning about three years, the greatest lesson Nyanjura has learnt is "for one to be an exceptional leader, he/she has to make decisions that represent the people, not administration".

Nyanjura graduated this month with a bachelor in Tourism and hopes to establish a tourist centre in her home district, Kyenjojo.

To the extent that there is a side of her that is not politics, this is how Nyanjura responds:

Do you have a boyfriend?

(Laughter followed by ohhhh...) No boyfriend.


I am engaged in so many activities and hardly have [time] for such [things]. In fact some guys have told me that they fear dating me because of the kind of work I do.

Are you considering getting one in the future?

Now that I am done with campus, there is hope for [such] consideration.

What qualities do you look for in a man?

First and foremost, he should be intelligent and by this I mean have free expression of self. He should be a gentleman (no men in jeans), not a drunkard and should be a reader to help me further my career.

What destination would you choose your honeymoon?

Hmmmmm----ehhh (laughs). I'm not planning for a honeymoon now because Museveni's government is still in power. Who knows, I could be tear-gassed on my way there.

Top three favourite songs.

Ebibuuzo by Bobi Wine, Bakoowu by Matthias Walukagga and Gundi okuze by Gerald Kiwewa.

If you could change your name, what would it be?

I would be called Muhenda FDC Preacher. Muhenda because it is our family name and all my siblings use it. And FDC Preacher because that easily identifies me as an icon for change which FDC is.

But recently, Ingrid Turinawe called me Carpenter of Change and I do not mind being called that.

Who is your role model?

Only one? I have more than one. One is Steve Biko, a lawyer activist against racism in South Africa and Patrice Lumumba.

Why those two?

Both died for causes they believed in and I see these same qualities in Dr Besigye.

If someone made a comedy movie about your life, which part of the story would be funniest and why?

(Long thought) Ohhh... I remember this time when I was in P.2 and I did busu (quick snatching) of some boy's sweet potato he had packed for break. The poor thing went and reported me to the HM. When he realized that I was going to be beaten, he changed his statement and said he had just given it to me.

How often do you visit the salon, work on your nails and do make-up?

I do not do make-up (evidently as her face was glowing with petroleum jelly) and I am forced to work on my nails because I am happy seeing them painted blue. I do my hair every week and I make sure it has blue streaks.

When casual, how do you dress?

I love wearing reasonably long dresses.

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