Although Ms Susan Namaganda, 31, the Bukomansimbi woman MP and a mother of three passed on two weeks ago, the grief she has left in the hearts of many is still fresh.
Namaganda, one of Parliament’s youngest legislators, was involved in a fatal accident at around 1:30am on Friday morning, December 11 and passed on later in Nakasero Hospital, and what remains a mystery is the driver that took her life has to date not been found. He is still on the run prompting rumours to make rounds about the cause of her death.
The question in all this, that we should ask ourselves is, “How do you want to be remembered when you die and what legacy do you want to leave behind?” It is a good question to ask, considering the way Namaganda lived her life.
The truth is, if we are to go by the Parliament Hansard, the late MP was not among those vocal female protagonists in the House. But the memories and life lessons she left behind remain alive and fresh in every one’s mind. Why? Because she worked tirelessly to empower those around her including her constituents. She encouraged them never to depend on perks but taught them how to fend for themselves and this is a testimony from whoever knew her well.
Fondly referred to as bbeyi y’ebirime (loosely translated to mean prices for produce), which was her campaign tag, Ms Namaganda is talked of as one that spearheaded a campaign to ensure food safety in homes. Ms Namaganda encouraged both women and men to grow produce both for domestic consumption and for sale so that they could realise some income thereafter.
Because she wanted everyone empowered, she gave out free coffee seedlings in her constituency and also promoted a campaign that saw most constituents benefit from the purple Irish potatoes’ initiative. She gave out mattresses to some health centres that were in dire need. The MP spoke passionately about women empowerment and advocated for better maternal health services. She also helped women and men form SACCOs which she partly funded.
According to Mr Richard Wasswa who is close to the family, the late taught people how to save.
“She de-campaigned the nigiina (village fundraisings) and encouraged individuals to save,” he said.
Namaganda also paid school fees for a number of needy children from each sub county in her constituency. Those very close to her knew her as a straight person who kept no grudge with whoever wronged her. She was a disciplinarian as well according to a family member.
“She was a true parent and a disciplinarian who groomed her children and those she took care of without discrimination. She was so strict and very tough but always found time for her family with the busy schedule,” said Mr Jude Bukenya,one of the late’s business associates.
Although she worked hard, Ms Namaganda was also outgoing and the first time I spoke to her at length and not about work, was when we met in one of those popular clubs in Kampala for a friend’s kasiki. She was so jolly and full of life, and in the company of her husband, told me she reserved her best dance strokes because she was not free with the group she was with.
She was also a family woman and cared about all those in her home.
No wonder, it is said, minutes after the doctor broke the disheartening news to Mbidde and his close friends at Nakasero Hospital theatre, Mr Mbidde who looked on in disbelief was disconsolate.
“God what have I done? You have punished me. Mummy you have gone with my life,” Mr Mbidde is said to have lamented.
There are many things to learn from Namaganda, from the way she worked, to the way she treated her family and the way she led her personal life. She has left a legacy many are proud to talk about and might want to emulate. For her, people came first and so across all spheres she ensured the people around her who were in need, were given a stepping stone, with which to get out of poverty.
That is a legacy we should all take lessons from.