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Robinah Nabbanja: The Ardent NRM Mobilizer, Risk Taker

Kakumiro Woman MP Robinah Nabbanja was last evening named Prime Minister to replace Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who was appointed Special Envoy in the Office of the President. The 51-year-old has been the Minister of Health in charge of General Duties.

Having come from a teaching background and owing to her service as a Resident District Commissioner, Nabbanja is an avid mobilizer known to every member of the National Resistance Movement-NRM party. She became more popular among parliamentarians during the age limit debate, as one of the MPs who stood strong in promoting the removal of the presidential age limit.

When asked how far she could go in dealing with the consequences of the age limit removal, Nabbanja said death is meant for everyone and that those in the ruling party could not be threatened by fellow MPs in the opposition. Nabbanja and her team then embarked on mobilization, on several occasions meeting opposition MPs to persuade them to change their mind.

Her strong mobilization skills would later earn her an appointed to the Parliament commission before she was appointed State Minister for Health. According to reports, President Museveni appointed Nabbanja, to fight graft in the Ministry.

But while being vetted for the position, Nabbanja’s academic papers were questioned by the appointments committee, then chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. The commitee said that it had detected inconsistencies in Nabbanja’s Advanced level credentials and sent the papers back to the institutions from where she studied as well as the Uganda National Examinations Board for verification and certification.

According to the Parliamentary directory, Nabbanja studied from St Edward SS Bukuumi for both Ordinary and Advanced level and attained a Diploma in Democracy and Development Studies from Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi in 1998. She attained a Bachelor’s Degree in the same field in 2010 before returning to Nkozi later for a Masters’ Degree in Democracy and Development Studies.

Journalists and politicians alike describe Nabbanja as an honest and hardworking person.

Adjumani Woman MP Jessica Ababiku says Nabbanja is an honest worker, one who is good at what she does including mobilization, a well tested and experienced cadre of the ruling party.

Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South MP says because of her mobilization and social skills, NRM has got the best Prime Minister. He says it’s good for someone who speaks her mind.

“She will be open and tell you what she knows and what she does not know. In some cases, she will also tell you that this is true or not, but also most importantly she knows she is supposed to talk to the media and she takes this as a responsibility,” One journalist said.

Recently, Nabbanja expressed interest in contesting for the position of Deputy Speaker of Parliament but she was quickly dismissed by her peers and some staff at Parliament who said that she did not have what it takes to be a Deputy Speaker. But the person they discarded will now step in the big shoes of not only former Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, but also that of John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, Professor Apollo Nsibambi and Kintu Musoke.

Makerere History Don Mwambutsya Ndebesa says that the past Prime Ministers have been cunning and have been held in high regard by legislators and colleagues in government. Unlike them, he says, Nabbanja is coming in with activism other than that vigour of being Prime Minister.

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