By Allan Olingo
At age 19, most teenagers are struggling with their early years at university or college; but for Proscovia Alengot Oromait will be trying to fit into her father’s political shoes, as she is now Africa’s youngest legislator.
Alengot has just been elected to Uganda’s Parliament in a by-election, replacing her late father, Michael Oromait, as the Member of Parliament for Usuk County in eastern Uganda.
At 19, National Revolutionary Movement (NRM)’s Alengot sets the record as Uganda’s youngest lawmaker ever. In the by-elections last week, the youthful political newcomer garnered 11,059 votes, beating eight other candidates to the vacant seat. Her closest rival, Charles Ojok Oleny got 5,329 votes while Charles Okure had 2,725 votes. Others performed poorly.
When her father passed away, Alengot immediately expressed interest to replace him, sparking off emotions of sympathy.
Two weeks ago, she was elected NRM’s flag bearer after she easily won the party primaries.
Before Alengot’s entry, Uganda’s Parliament had Butaleja MP Cerina Nebanda, as the youngest at 23.
Fortunes have changed for Alengot. As she read for her A-Level exams a few months ago, her mind was set on going to university. But with the death of her father, things have drastically changed and now she is heading to Parliament.
“It is not the age that matters. I knew I was going to win because I had the support of the people. So I was not worried,” she told a Ugandan TV station after being announced the winner.
Ugo, a Ugandan news portal quoted Opio Edekep, Alengot’s campaign manager, saying that the MP-elect is supposed to join Uganda Christian University Mukono this year but will now have to divide her time between the lecture rooms and parliamentary chambers.
Despite her age, Alengot is not a stranger to politics. She was actively involved in her late father’s campaigns and his developmental projects.