19-Year-Old Girl Is Uganda's Newest Lawmaker

"It's not about the age ... it's the brain," the young member of parliament says.

Posted:
 
oromait_091812_400jrw
Proscovia Oromait (NTV Uganda via YouTube)

Proscovia Oromait has been elected to Uganda's Parliament. A member of the country's ruling party, she is filling the seat left vacant after her father's death. Oh, and she's just out of high school and 19 years old.

It's no surprise that the election has reportedly sent "a lot of ripples" through the organization she represents. But while some question her qualifications, Oromait says, "It's not about the age ... it's the brain." From the Washington Post:

A teenaged young woman fresh out of high school has won a seat in Uganda's parliament, adding to the ruling party's majority but embarrassing some who say her success lowers expectations of lawmakers in the East African country.

Proscovia Oromait, who is 19 and a college hopeful, contested elections deep in eastern Uganda to fill the seat left vacant by her father's death. President Yoweri Museveni's ruling party had been desperate for a win there, having lost seven in eight parliamentary by-elections this year. The polls have come to be widely seen as a test of Museveni's popularity, and some party bosses calculated that she would win with a sympathy vote. The result was Uganda's youngest lawmaker ever -- and a boost for Museveni's party.

Michael Mukula, a lawmaker who is one of the ruling party's deputy chairmen, said Oromait's win had sent "a lot of ripples" through the organization, dividing it into reformers and hardliners who want to win by any means necessary.

"I am a bit concerned and taken aback because of her lack of experience and lack of exposure," Mukula said of Oromait. "This is not a constituency you want to give a child of that age to shoulder."

... Museveni, who took power by force in 1986, has not said if he will run again in 2016, when his current term expires, but he faces growing opposition within and outside his party to step down and preside over the first peaceful transfer of power in Uganda's history. Some opponents suspect he may be grooming his son or wife to take over when he retires.

Read more at the Washington Post.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.