Why Nabbanja is Uganda’s politician of the year

Robinah Nabbanja’s appointment as prime minister in June caused mixed reactions in the country. Some political pundits were quick to dismiss her record with some opining that the office was too big for her.

Nabbanja, for most part, decided to ignore her critics and got to work.

Six months later, even some of her most vocal critics agree that she has proven them wrong. We explore some of Nabbanja’s achievements in this short time that undoubtedly make her Uganda’s politician of the year.

Covid-19 relief fund

The disbursement of relief funds to some of the people hit hard by Covid-19 lockdown measures was Nabbanja’s first assignment as prime minister. All eyes were on her to see if she would deliver. And she did. At least 95% of the intended beneficiaries received the Shs100,000 ($30) that had been promised. In fact, the relief money came to be known as the Nabbanja Money.

This assignment illustrated her leadership ability and her ability to oversee such projects. Even if there were challenges here and there, the fact that it was the first time vulnerable Ugandans had been given such money, should be regarded as an achievement by the prime minister.

Kasese corruption

In July, a month after assuming office, Nabbanja swung into action. On a visit to Kasese to meet and console victims of the floods there, she was alarmed by the substandard food stuffs and relief materials that had been supplied.

She immediately directed the police and the State House Anti- Corruption Unit to arrest four of her staff, who are currently under custody. It sent a strong signal that under Nabbanja, it will not be business as usual for corrupt public officials.

Covid-19 tests in Entebbe

In September, Nabbanja intervened after many complained about the high cost of COVID-19 tests at Entebbe International Airport. She set up a ten-member select committee comprising ten officials from the National Planning Authority-NPA, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority-UCAA, security agencies and the ministries of health and tourism to address loopholes in the Covid-19 testing procedures at the Airport.

This was no mean feat considering that there had been reports that some people had wanted to profit from the process by charging passengers exorbitant testing fees. Once again she put her foot down and eventually, order was restored.

Kayunga LC5 by election

Nabbanja’s latest assignment was to ensure that the NRM candidate in the Kayunga LC 5 by-election Andrew Muwonge wins. She spent days in the district canvassing for votes and ensuring that Muwonge, who was facing a tough competitor in NUP’s Harriet Nakwedde, was victorious. In the end, Muwonge triumphed thanks in no small part to Nabbanja’s efforts which included reconciling some NRM members in the district.

Who is Robinah Nabbanja?

Nabbanja was born in 1969 in Kakumiro district. She is the seventh born in a family of 11 children.

Nabbanja attended Kamusenene Primary School from Primary one to Primary Seven then Nankanula Secondary School in Kyankwanzi which was seven miles away from their home. She then joined St. Edward’s Secondary School Bukuumi from where she attained both her O and A Level certificates.

She obtained a diploma in Democracy and Development Studies from Uganda Martyr’s University in Mubende. Later, Nabbanja attained a Master of Arts in Development Studies, also from Uganda Martyrs University.

She’ Holds a Masters is Monitoring and Evaluation from Nkumba University, BA in Democracy and Development Studies -Nkozi University, Diploma in Democracy and Development Studies Nkozi, Diploma in Education among others