LION HEARTED WOMEN: Gallant Widows who Have Weathered Storms and Gone to Extremes to Keep their Departed Husbands' Legacies, Businesses and Families Intact
By Stephen K Muwambi 7th, June 2013
Nothing is as devastating as losing a partner and it is even more scary when a woman has to face the world all by herself after the demise of her husband. The situation is not made any better when the husband has built an empire that has to be run even after his death.
Very few women step up to the challenge but there are a few Ugandan widows that have done marvelously running their late husband’s business empires and holding their families together.We salute these strong women and we hereby place them in Investigators HALL of FAME so other women, who may find themselves in their situation one day, learn from their experience.
Maama Miria Kalule Obote
After losing her dear husband former president Milton Obote, she contested and became the UPC party president. This was her way of carrying on what her husband had begun. UPC patrons cautioned her not to turn their party into a dynasty while others argued that her long stay in exile had rendered her far removed from Uganda.
Her gender did not seat well with some of the party members but Maama Miria stood her ground and eventually won the party presidency. Not done, male losers challenged her victory in court, but she beat them hands down. To the shock of many she even contested for national presidency but even though she lost this race, it said a lot about her character and shred personality.
Knowing she is now vulnerable politically, she has decided to keep good relations with the government which has helped to keep her family near the power base. For her non-antagonistic politics, President Museveni awarded her husband an Independence party medal.
Sevo paid Obote's Presidential benefits as well as contributed Shs50m and cows towards Obote’s son Jimmy Akena's marriage to fellow MP Betty Amongin. Miria is also credited for keeping her family together testimony of which is the absence of squabbles among Obote's children.
Speaker Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga
Unknown to many, Kadaga lost her husband, former Information Minister Ateker Ejalu a while back, but the matriarch of Busoga, never mourned for days on end. As a tribute to her husband, she has kept his political flame burning.
She has been minister, MP and is now the third most powerful citizen in our good republic. Her contribution to the enrichment of Parliamentary democracy, enactment of good laws for the country is simply humbling. She has fought for women, children and general rights of every Ugandan.
She has defended Parliament and Court's sanctity from the overbearing big brother- the executive. On top of fighting for Uganda's sovereignty without fear or favor, she has also been unwavering in her fight for the kyabazingaship to be fully re-instated. We can safely say Kadaga has fitted well in Ejalu's shoes, he must be rejoicing in heaven.
She is the widow of departed amiable Anglican Bishop Misaeri Kawuma who died in 1997.
Keeping alive Misaeri's love for humanity, she is today running a charity, 26 Charity which has helped so many to live meaningful lives. She is also into counseling people with all sorts of ailments. In fact, her Nsangi matrimonial home off Masaka road, has been named ' Kiwummulo' meaning the resting place.
For its where the afflicted souls of this burdensome world converge for counseling lessons and prayers. Wife to a former Bishop, Geraldine has not made it a habit to depend on handouts from the Anglican Church. She runs a flourishing farm of Friesian cows for her upkeep. She is also into commercial farming. She even gives out some of the calves to her community, to mitigate poverty in their midst.
Solome Walusimbi Mpanga Naluwoza
Ever since her husband Walusimbi Mpanga passed on decades ago, Solome has kept her husband's franchise Walusimbi's Garage going stronger and it has been no simple feat. Solome is not a mechanic yet she has managed to supervise the mechanics to do a good job for the firm's clientele.
But above all, Solome has maintained quality a virtue her departed husband greatly believed in by importing brand new Toyota cars into the country. Mpanga was a politician of repute, having been one of the finest City Mayors and reportedly Mengo's Treasurer. He dined with the creme de creme of Uganda. Solome has amazingly been a carbon copy of the departed Walusimbi.
She has also been a Minister in Mengo as well as served on many schools’ boards. She has contributed to several charities and is keeping Walusimbi's legacy as well as groomed her children into responsible citizens.
Hajjat Sarah Kiyimba
Hajjat Sarah Kiyimba has managed to turn the Masaka based Brovad Hotel into one of the best hotels in that region. That she inherited loans left behind by her husband which she managed to pay off and still proceeded to upgrade the facility to envious proportions, is testimony she is a woman of steel.
She has singlehandedly paid schools fees for her children, as well as groomed many into responsible citizens who have gone on to start meaningful lives of their own.
Hajjat is at the moment employing many in her businesses, paying lots of taxes, buying foodstuffs from Ugandans thereby not only adding to the well being of many Ugandans but also the country’s economy.
Though her husband died a few months back,she did not mourn for long as there was business to be done. That thousands of Mulwana's workers have not complained shows she has the skills to handle such an extended business empire.
The fact that banks have not moved to recall loans also means they have full confidence in the widow to manage the businesses well. Even when mourners doubted her capacity to run Mulwana's empire, Sarah confidently told them she had what it takes to do the job. And we have no reason, so far, to discount her resolve.
Her husband Fredrick Mpanga was one of the finest legal brains and politician of his days. That he was a legal confidant to Independence President and Buganda Kabaka Edward Muteesa II attests to his legal prowess.
In his death, Joyce has gallantly kept her husband's legacy and family together. As way of example, she educated and mentored Kampala youthful lawyer Daudi Mpanga who has gone on to land the Mengo Research ministerial post, a no mean feat by all standards.
In fact, it's hard for one to mention ten fine lawyers without coming up with the name of the razor sharp Mpanga. Mpanga has been the lead counsel for Dr Kizza Besigye in many cases that have been brought against the son of Kifeefe beating the mighty government hands down.
Politically, Joyce has been a minister both in the Kampala and Mengo governments. She is also on the forefront of fighting for the girl child education; she is in fact a much sought after consultant on education, political, religious and cultural affairs.
She has not only managed to keep the family estate intact, but has also grown it by leaps and bounds.
Minister Maria Mutagamba
The minister became a widow after losing her dear husband Tarsis Mutagamba, who formerly worked with Bank of Uganda. Yes she felt the pinch, but as any strong- hearted woman would do, she picked her up the pieces and moved on.
She has also been able to keep the family estate which includes the Gamba House in Nalukolongo intact on top of mentoring her children into good persons.
Betty Namisango Kamya Turomwe
Well she lost her hubby George Spencer Turomwe but like a true warrior, she picked up her pieces and matched on. She has kept true to her promise to her dear Spencer; the promise that she would spare no ounce of energy in fighting for the rights of Ugandans.
She has also kept her promise of bringing up Spencer's children in a good way, as well as giving them the best education. Young as she is, she decided out of her own volition not to find another man but concentrated on grooming Spencer's children as well as expand the family's estate and name.
To further Spencer's political interests, Betty stood for the Presidency so as to unseat President Museveni who was Spencer's political friend turned foe. She also formed her own party, Federal Alliance through which she is going around the country seeking signatures to force a referendum for purposes of chopping President Museveni's 'sweeping' powers.
We can safely say Spencer must be resting in peace knowing she has formidable substitute in Betty.
Another strong-hearted woman, Angelina has helped to keep Wapa's flame burning by her good works. So influential she is that President Museveni still drops her invitees for most of the country's national functions. She not only mentored and educated Wapa's children but also supervises the family's estate.
Widow to departed businessman Joseph Behakanira, Goodra has weathered hundreds of millions of loans to keep Avemar Plaza, J &M International Hotel at Bwebajja plus a host of businesses and residences.
Since Julius Nyerere Kamberege's death, Maria has weathered failing health and she amazingly turns up at Namugongo each time Martyrs day arrives. She is also still held highly in political circles in Tanzania.