PUBLISHED — 26th, May 2022

Ugandans joined their African counterparts across the world to celebrate Africa Day in a colorful event held at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala on May 25.

Africa Day is observed annually to commemorate the founding of the African Union (AU) which was created on May 25, 1963.

This year’s celebrations were held under the theme “Enhancing Patriotic Pan-African Ideology Towards Umoja Wetu Ninguzo Yetu” and was organized by the Pan -African Women Organisation (PAWO).

The event was graced by several dignitaries including; the Minister of Internal Affairs who is also the Chairperson of Pan-African Movement Hon Kahinda Otafire, the Tanzania Minister of Defence and National Service Dr Stergomena Tax and the Minister for General Duties Hon Kasule Lumumba as chief guest.

Other high-profile guests were the state minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs Hon Kabuye Kyofatogabye, the President of PAWO Uganda Chapter Hon Cecilia Ogwal and the KCCA Executive Director Dorothy Kisaka among others.

There were also guests from across the East African region as well as countries like Somalia and Ethiopia who graced the event.

The Rastafarian Community and the people of Kampala, mainly the market women from the KCCA markets who came dressed in beautiful traditional outfits, commonly known as Kitenge lit up the event.

The women begun the days’ celebrations as early as 7:00am at City Square.

Dressed in PAWO colours of yellow and green, full of energy they held high their market banners as they marched from the City Square to Kololo led by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) brass band.

The women were full of excitement to be brought to an event many possibly imagined was meant for the elites.

Once at the event they took their seats in the pavilion where they constantly kept cheering and applauding the various speakers.

In his remarks, Hon Otafire rallied Africans to work hard for a unified Africa and demand it of their governments.

“African governments in charge of this area, the nexus of liberation should take the unity of Africa seriously and the people of Africa must demand it of your governments as a right. It is your right that the people of Africa are united and liberated,” Otafire said.

He revealed that it is time for Africa to remove the legacies and borders that keep its people asunder, poor and deprived.

“Our acceptance of these colonial borders was a tactical move but our acceptance of these borders for a long time is a strategic mistake. Those of us who inherited the colonial states have failed to erase these miserable definitions,” Otafire said.

Hon Lumumba who represented President Museveni commended the women for their efforts towards the development of Africa.

“The efforts you put in doing business and taking care of children is key in building Africa. Thank you for being great women,” Lumumba said amid cheers from the women.

The Secretary General of PAWO Grace Kabayo, said Pan-Africanism is about everyone including women and children.

“Saying, Pan-Africanism is for the elites is wrong. It is about these women who ensure there is food, trade and peace across the region,” Kabayo said.

She commended the KCCA ED Kisaka for championing the empowering of women vendors in Kampala and enabling them own the markets.

“Special thanks to my sister in the struggle, she has held the KCCA leadership together and presented a very good policy to the president for these women to own the markets,” Kabayo said.

According to Kisaka, giving women economic empowerment means enabling women to increase their right to economic resources and their control over meaningful decisions that benefit themselves, their households and their communities.

“In our markets we encourage women to be organized to tap into government programs like Parish Development Model (PDM) program, Emyooga to get more resources and build themselves,” Kisaka said.

She commended the market vendors for their contribution to the development of Uganda and challenged them to continue with vibrant engagement aimed at transforming Kampala into a Smart City.

Because of the work demand, often market women do not have time for celebrations of this kind but they made time for it.

The vendors were given the opportunity to address the guest, something they were so excited about.

The chairperson of Bugolobi market, Grace Nyesigire, said as vendors they feel more empowered and confident for being recognized and valued.

“Thank you for recognizing the market people, most times you forget about us. But now we have been put in the lead and things are moving well. I want to thank madam Kisaka for helping us,” Nyesigire said.

Susan Kushaba, the chairperson of St Balikuddembe market expressed her appreciation to the organizers for bringing the market women to the forefront.

The Pan-African Women’s Organization (PAWO), the Specialized Agency of the AU dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment.



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