NRM appoints Beatrice Anywar as deputy chairperson of Gender and Labour commitee

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PARLIAMENT – The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has named Kitgum Municipality MP Beatrice Atim Anywar as deputy chairperson of the Gender and Labour committee.

The appointment on the committee probably means that Anywar, who will deputise Alex Ndeezi on the committee, is completing her political metamorphosis cycle from Opposition to the ruling party, a process that appears to have started when she lost the Forum for Democratic Change party flag to Denis Onekalit Amere.

Anywar cried foul and accused the party leadership of plotting her ouster from Parliament. She subsequently stood as an Independent and trounced her opponents in the February 2016 election.

Since then, things have moved rather fast for the political iron lady once branded ‘Mama Mabira’ for leading a fierce protest against the government attempt to give away swathes of Mabira Forest to Mehta Group for sugarcane growing.

For that trouble, Anywar, who became one of the most recognisable opposition figures in Uganda, had a date with Luzira Prison. But losing FDC primaries appears to have sent her on another date, this time a fully political one with the NRM party.

It all started with cavorting and some PDA (public display of affection) with Anywar appearing at NRM functions, including once in full yellow gomesi. Yellow is the NRM official colour and women leaders from the ruling party are known to wear yellow garbs at public functions.

President Museveni, who has mastered the art of studying his political enemies, describes Anywar ‘transformation’ best. Gracing the legislator’s thanksgiving ceremony in May last year, Museveni praised her ‘positive attitude’

“For the past 10 years, Anywar’s attitude has been changing positively. NRM should do what Jesus told people to do, become fishers of men. I’m here to see if I can fish Anywar and all the other fish in the lake,” said President Museveni.

Voting for lifting of age limit

That Anywar had been pouting within the Opposition for a while was already a public secret as much as her courtship with NRM. But even then the nation was left in shock when MP Anywar, called to vote on age limit Bill, boldly said yes. She repeated it on the Speaker’s prompting.

The former Shadow minister for environment and natural resources had crossed her political Rubicon. By all intent and purpose, there was no turning back. What was left was appointment to serve the ruling party in some capacity.

In December last year, Anywar let it known that she was open to working with President Museveni if appointed to government.

“I will work with him pakalast [forever], because my people want services. I cannot get services from Kizza Besigye, Amama Mbabazi or any other,” Anywar was quoted by The New Vision as saying.

“Any minute there is an opportunity, I will go to President Museveni with no regret. He is a great leader because he is tolerant. He is able to listen to some of us,” she added.

On Tuesday, Ruth Nankabirwa, the NRM Chief Whip, delivered some crumbs of holy grail Anywar’s way and, officially, she starts her work in NRM party on the Gender and Labour committee.

As a Ses­sional Com­mit­tee on So­cial Ser­vices, the committee oversees ac­tiv­i­ties of the Min­istry of Gen­der, Labour and So­cial De­vel­op­ment.

Tuesday’s parliamentary committee appointments were more of sharing the cake from the age limit, with several ruling MPs who opposed and voted against the Bill, ‘paid back in harsh.’ Such legislators have been dropped from chairing or deputising as chair on various committees.

For those who supported, campaigned for and voted in favour of age limit, ‘rewards’ were dished.

Anything more in store?

MP Anywar was open in declaring she would work if appointed a minister. She was probably looking to something in such capacities, after all, Beti Kamya before her is now Minister for Kampala Affairs and makes a good account of the man she spent decades oppositing and calling all sorts of names.

Museveni has previously praised Anywar as a tolerant opposition member, saying he had specifically worked on wooing her to the ruling party. He, however, did not spell out whether Anywar is already a member of NRM.

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