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Why Anita Among must be Museveni’s favourite speaker

Speaker Anita Among

Speaker Anita Among

My friend, novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija (and several other folks) love to ridicule speaker of parliament Anita Among for skin lightening as some form of fakery or lacking in sophistication.

They have thus called her names from “Mrs Mekako”, after a particularly renowned skin-lightening cream, to “Queen Elizabeth II” that she attempts to look like a white woman. But while I understand their intention to portray her as fake, sufficiently colonised, that is, embarrassed of her Africanness and skin colour, I think these slurs are inaccurate, lacking in context and terribly sanctimonious.

First of all, beautifying themselves through––permanent and temporary––bodily modifications such as tattooing, skin piercing, skin lightening, ear and nose piercing, braiding, and many others have been part of the womenfolk for millennia.

In Europe and North America—and also in several African cities including Kampala—women are thickening their lips and bottoms, while others are taking sliming pills. Consider labia elongation among East Africans. About 10 years ago, my friend, Dr Yahya Sseremba wrote a wonderful pan-Africanist, anti-colonial pro-labia-elongation essay when the WHO attempted to lump it under genital mutilation. Dr Sseremba was furious.

Thus, if beautification takes many forms, it would only be fair to say that in lightening her skin, the speaker actually is a product of our society and thus represents many women that we dearly love. I am not sure comrade Kakwenza has been downtown—or even in semi-upscale places such as Acacia mall or Forest mall— and seen the beautification industry.

It is big business, and was never started by sister Anita Among. That notwithstanding, I perfectly understand brother Kakwenza and co.: there is a degree of fakeness that comes with choosing permanent skin lightening. It speaks to a still- not-decolonised mind.

But again, this ought not to be blamed on Anita Among. This is a national condition. As a country, right from the top, we are still in awe with whiteness. Indeed, the joke goes that if you want to meet Mr Museveni in two days, show up with white skin. (And I am not saying this was the speaker’s trick after realising the president’s weakness with whiteness).


From her love affair with skin-lightening creams, it is arguable that sister Among actually understands the streets. Yes, most skin-lightening girls tend to be the most street-smart. Have you not seen Bad Black? But sister Anita Among isn’t a Bad-Black.

She is calmer and somewhat more sophisticated. She is like a market vendor who runs a mostly night kiosk selling sweets, liquors and cigarettes. (Maybe Bad Black would be her client). She has hanged out with genuine folks painfully eking out an existence (such as boda-boda riders).

She has also dealt with hardcore thieves, muggers, and soft pickpockets who see her as family as they have enjoyed free liquors, and sometimes, cigarette on credit. She has worked with gossipy colleagues, and has made peace with them. Her other clients include ladies of the night from the nearby red town, and she has carefully studied their clientele as well.

She could be lacking in cosmopolitan pretentions, but she knows these streets in and out. This is Museveni’s Anita Among—and that 11th Parliament being a modernised version of Kikuubo of the 1990s, sister Among is clearly cut for it. She is the night street vendor with a 24-hour kiosk who got to be elected RC I. To this end, she is executing her duties with utmost smoothness and precision.

Indeed, for her incredible success with silencing folks in the opposition—tactfully seducing them into NRM ranks while at the same time keeping their opposition faces— some people have called her a witch; that she is the priestess of the biggest shrine in the Teso subregion. I disagree.

This woman is only a smart street gangster. She could be rough sometimes, as she was with my friends, journalist Agartha Atuhaire or youthful legislator Francis Zaake. But she is smooth and sleek.


It is my contention that had the Age limit bill happened under Anita Among’s speakership (and I am osmotic friends with Mama Kadaga), there would never have been need for SFC to enter parliament. Because what Museveni realised late on—that he could actually, simply buy opposition folks into smoothly opposing the amendment—Anita Among lives this life every day.

With the floods of cash in parliament, there would be no need for breaking anyone’s bones. A little street smoothness would suffice. Ever wondered why she was voted for en masse, the first time she went out for deputy speakership? She knows this game.

Sister Among knows the genuinely broke folks struggling to eke out an existence through politics. She knows indebted ones, the hungry ones, the muggers, the pickpockets, the egoistic clients of the redlight district, and all—because she runs the 24-hour kiosk at the end of the street.

The wall whisperers say she started her RC term by seducing potential sources of conflict onto her side: from our smartest opposition legislators—mostly lawyers and orators—to the Leader of Opposition himself, comrade brother Mathias Mpuuga.

Not only is she ready to offer these difficult colleagues of hers with any comforts of work they needed, but was ready to constantly seek their guidance. (That is a gangster street move).

Consider this, the wall whisperers say, sister Among phone-calls brother Mpuuga every morning, to both check on his health as a colleague, and also discuss the order paper, if need be. She will go ahead and share any possibly contentious items on her NRM side, and offer some mild concessions as well.

On the floor of parliament, it is all smooth-sailing. Tell me if Museveni would wish for anyone better after 35 years in office. She takes the crown!


The author is a political theorist based at Makerere University


+5 #1 Kent Mawa 2023-03-22 13:26
I agree that bodily modifications , including skin lightening as as old as humans. People have always been and continue to be free to do things that make them feel good.

Very few people know , for example , that 75% of white women use creams to darken their skins /looks... Many white people sun bathe endlessly to darken their shins. Wouldn`t be silly to say they are "fake " or lacking in sophistication ?

In fact , the comestic Industry is one of the most profitable ones world over.

Personally , I prefer looking at how Anita Among conducts her self than how she beautifies herself.

I am still puzzled how a stauch Catholic well educated woman choses to get married to a polygamist muslim.
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-9 #2 Ssekabaka 2023-03-22 13:33
"..................novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija (and several other folks) love to ridicule speaker of parliament Anita Among for skin lightening as some form of fakery or lacking in sophistication............"

Isn't this the same tutsi Kakwenza that likes to use "big ENGLISH words" that he himself doesn't even know what they mean just to appear "sophisticated and educated?"

The same skinny coward that ran away to a pink man's - ooops, white man's land to lick his behinds and armpits under the guise of exile or rather, fakery of a good life?

How ironic that he ridicules another african woman for lightening her skin....What people do with their bodies is none of your business. Show me any human that hasn't modified their bodies in a way...from circumcision to pam hair to elongation of women privates, etc.

Please Yusuf, talk about critical things like how the melt down in "democratic" Kenya is affecting our economy or homosexuality in schools!!!
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+12 #3 Lysol 2023-03-22 20:51
And that was why they had to get rid of one poor Olanya, quickly!
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+1 #4 Remase 2023-03-23 01:43
Doc, talking about Bad Black, she is a good smooth criminal!

To this date I can't believe how she robbed that multi millionaire Muzungu, do you? I mean, nothing for nothing, and I wouldn't bet on this, but your sister Among and my brother Mpuuga are up to something nore than parliamentary work! Are you thinking what I am thinking?

For Mpuuga to be completely yellow inside but red on the outside and not ashamed about is shocking! It's shocking because I expected Mpuuga to stand for us, the people, but not for hardcore organized criminals!
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+3 #5 Lakwena 2023-03-23 08:14
Dr., Dr. Yusuf, in the paradox of opposites; trying too hard produces the unexpected result. And for a woman, trying too hard to look beautiful (fake) and therefore loved, makes her UGLY to the core (repulsive).

Otherwise, over preoccupation with the self (appearance) is a phenomena (sign) of identity crisis (lack of it).

Besides,from a religious perspective; preoccupation with the self is a form of idol worshiping (self-worshiping), a vice that leads to the Deadly Sins: Pride, Greed/Avarice, Gluttony, Envy, Lust, Anger/Wrath and Slothfulness/Laziness.

In other words, modesty and/or simplicity is the beauty, a virtue and Heavenly.
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0 #6 Moodysenyonjo 2023-03-24 03:17
"Street smarts" - Hmm, well stated Dr. Yusufu
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+3 #7 Willy not Silly 2023-03-24 13:07
Paradoxically, people who desire to have white skins also desire to have black hair , or black shoes or clothes.

If your skin is black, be contented with it because you already have white teeth, and in old age you will get real white hair. There is no way you are going to miss Black and White on your body.
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0 #8 Akot 2023-03-25 17:13
Remase, thanks.

The only subject Ugandans must talk about is;

"getting rid of Museveni in UNITY"!

Just as USA/UK/EU can only stop Putin in UNITY, to save the world - Putin must not be allowed to divide the world in 2, especially as China wants to own & control Africa land riches!

Ugandans MUST talk of just ending Museveni's rule in UNITY, then putting in place the kind of governance they want, or they will destroy themselves for him for good!

No tribe has ownership of its land any more as ALL tribal lands & riches belong to Museveni! Yet naive tribally divided ruledUgandans fight one another to ensure they are slaves of the migrant family!

Has Museveni thanked Ugandans for having given him asylum?

But now, it's Ugandans the migrants imposing themselves on him!

Why are tribal leaders still in posts, ensuring Museveni's lifetime rule & ownership of Uganda?
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0 #9 Remase 2023-03-26 16:08
Akot, that's why you are my love for life. The only subject we should talk about is, getting rid of M7. Period.

However, now Mpuuga wants us to believe that amending Ugandan Constitution to shift from the current “winner-takes-it-all” system to proportional representation, is the answer to our predicament!

That clearly shows that Mpuuga is M7's proxy and only interested in maintaining the status quo! Amending the current constitution in any way, shape or form only strengthen Mpuuga's relationship with Among, thus M7's life presidency!
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