13 April 2017

Uganda: Politics Has Taught Lillian Nakate Calmness

interview

Quick Talk recently had a chat with the Woman MP for Luweero district, ENG LILLIAN NAKATEwho doubles as the vice chairperson of Parliament's Physical Infrastructure committee. The 38-year-old politician is also a member of the science and technology committee, and is part of the team investigating in utl.

Let us start with your academic background, Honourable...

I went to Wobulenzi Parents' School for my primary education. For secondary, I went to many schools. I went to St John's SS Nandere, Mulusa Academy and sat my O-level in Luteete SS in Bamunanika. For my A-level, I went back to Mulusa Academy [wow, a true child of the Bulemeezi soil!]

And then... ?

I joined Uganda Polytechnic, Kyambogo [now Kyambogo University] for a diploma in Architectural Draftsmanship. When I left Kyambogo, I did some work with the Luweero local government and later joined Makerere University for a degree in civil engineering for four years.

I continued at Mak for a Master of Science in Civil Engineering. I also have a number of certificates in engineering courses. I recently finished a two-year certificate program in road construction. I am planning to pursue my PhD so as to serve my people better.

Eh! Quite accomplished! Have you found time to start a family?

[Smiling] Yes, along the way I did. I am a mother of three. I am actually a Nalongo [uh-oh. Hope not Dr Stella Nyanzi's interpretation of being a Nalongo... ] I am blessed with twins and they are old now. They are 10 years old and their follower is nine. We are okay.

Wow. And your Ssalongo... ?

Ssalongo is okay. He is very supportive. The elections were very tough but his support and encouragement helped me a lot and I made it.

What is this good man's name?

His name [shaking her head] aaahh, I will reserve it for now.

Ok. You must have had an interesting childhood, considering your choices in life!

I grew up in an average family that is not so learned. I am the most learned in my family. Like any average family, everything was fine before the war.

We lost a lot of our family assets during the war and we moved to Kenya and came back, but it was still hard for my family [the war that brought President Museveni into power in 1986 was largely based in Luweero.]

That explains why I went through three schools for my O-level, but with God's grace I qualified for my diploma on government sponsorship and I was also the best student at the mature entry exams and I still got government sponsorship. Even for my master's, the Italian Cooperation in Uganda gave me a scholarship. [Nakate was born to Mr and Mrs Annet and Francis (RIP) Segujja.]

Back to motherhood and parenting...

Personally, it has been challenging, especially the earlier years. I started having children in my second year of university; so, I had to divide my time between family and studies. That was the time I went and got married. I was taking mature decisions.

What fun activities do you do with your children?

I used to go out with them, go shopping and play with them, but sincerely since I joined parliament, I have not had enough time with them but I will eventually when I get acquainted with my relatively new routine.

Talking about your new routine, how do you deal with all these phone calls from your constituents? [Her phone buzzes with an incoming call every few minutes.]

In the beginning I had problems with people saying I don't pick their calls, but I explained to them that they should call in the evenings and the trend is now changing. I spend a lot of time on phone returning my missed calls every evening.

Meanwhile, when was the last time you did a paka chini?

Dancing? I rarely do. Maybe, I dance when I go to gym for aerobics and Zumba, but I don't go to clubs. The time we had a parliamentary party at Guvnor, I had to call friends for directions [to Guvnor? Kyokka Honourable!] I did not know where it was!

Did you like Guvnor?

It was a nice place but too noisy for my liking. I like places where you can listen to music at a low volume, which allows you to hold a conversation. But all the same, it was nice and, because they were playing oldies, I shook a bit.

I hope you regularly watch movies, at least.

It has been a long time. I was actually travelling on a plane [when I watched my last one] but I don't remember the title of the movie.

Finally, Honorable, what is that one thing that you can't stand?

Oh! I can stand anything. I have learnt to live that way. There is no situation I can't contain. Politics taught me that. I kept calm in very hard and provoking situations. The beauty with life is that it always moves on despite the challenges.

Uganda

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