Winnie Byanyima: I’m FDC but non-partisan


Winnie Byanyima

The executive director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima, says although she belongs to an opposition political party in Uganda, she has carried out her duties without being partisan.

Byanyima is married to Kizza Besigye, the former chairman of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) political party in Uganda.

Byanyima is a member of the FDC, although she has significantly reduced her participation in partisan Ugandan politics since she became a Ugandan diplomat in 2004.

It all started on Sunday November 29, 2015 with a group photo showing Uganda’s Vice president, Edward Ssekandi, representing President Yoweri Museveni in Malta for CHOGM 2015 meeting.

Save for Queen Elizabeth 11 and a few other women, the rest are men.

“Look at all these men hogging power! Disgraceful. No #AllMalePanels,” Winnie lashed out.

A tweep then responded: “With all due respect Hon, calling it “Disgraceful” is quite unnecessary. You know the demographic history of world politics.”

Winnie reminded the tweep that she was of world politics and but insisted the segregation of women was “disgraceful”.

Another tweep suggested that Haitian women were comfortable with international jobs and not bothered by local politics, which women dismissed as untrue.

A third tweep dared women on being non-partisan saying she was already inclined to the opposition FDC.

“Yes I am FDC AND also head of Oxfam which fights poverty and injustice in a non-partisan way,” she said.

She said the FDC constitution has a 40% women quota for all positions.

“[I am] proud that I led the collective effort to achieve that.”

As for all men panels, Winnie suggested that the world can reject it, challenge discrimination, support girls and women to claim rights.

“Live in equality with women at home and at work,” she said, adding, “Women and men, together, we are responsible 4 building a world free of discrimination, violence, poverty and injustice.”

“Yes, we can move faster e.g. through free, quality sec education for all kids, clean water near all homes and more budget for agriculture.”

From research, Winnie said, now the world knows causes of inequality.

“No need to blame. Have evidence of what works, let’s get on with solutions.”

Winnie served as a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Ugandan 1995 Constitution.

She then served two consecutive terms as a member of parliament representing Mbarara Municipality, from 1994 until 2004.

In 2004, she was appointed director of the Directorate of Women, Gender and Development at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

She served in that capacity until she was appointed as director of the Gender Team in the Bureau for Development Policy at UNDP in November 2006.

In January 2013, Byanyima was announced as the next executive director of Oxfam International, replacing her predecessor, Jeremy Hobbs who held the position since 2001, and as of 2014 heads the International Non-Governmental Organisations Accountability Charter.

Byanima began her five-year directorship at Oxfam on 1 May 2013.

In January 2015, Byanyima co-chaired the World Economic Forum in Davos.

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