Talk of the nation: Several women made the news in 2017 on the local and international scene, mostly for the controversies linked to them, whether in politics, public service, society or entertainment. Sarah Aanyu compiled a list of the names we will remember in 2017.
As the year is coming to an end, there are women we cannot forget to talk about because of their remarkable public appearances and acts that either made them outstanding or the talk of the nation and here are some of them.
She is the speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, a very strong and daring woman who on several occasions tried to keep the parliament sittings in order amid the chaos of the Members of Parliament who were against the age limit removal in the Ugandan constitution.
For the very first time during her tenure in the August House, matters got so heated that she had to suspend 25 MPs accused of stirring up trouble during the age limit debate. Following this suspension and the refusal of the MPs to vacate the house, chaos ensued and the Speaker’s decision and actions became the talk of the nation.
She is a vocal opposition MP who is against the scrapping of the age limit and despite her health condition; she still managed to pull a stunt on Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga in a video that went viral. Her match into parliament dressed in a red hoodie, inspired all sorts of memes on social media with a picture and video, which portrayed her as a hero.
When her health condition worsened, she had to be flown to India for an operation which turned out to be successful and on her return to Uganda; the police had to escort her home, allegedly so that they could prevent her from causing chaos on her way home.
Earlier this year, Stella Nyanzi, a research fellow at Makerere University and a fearless human rights activist lit up Facebook with her posts delivered in colourful language and directed at the president and the first Lady.
She was arrested and charged with Cyber Harassment and Offensive Communication contrary to section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act 2011 and remanded to Luzira Prison.
Her social media posts have since lost their sting.
Sophia Namutebi (Maama Phina)
The well-known leader of traditional healers in the Uganda has been in the news not only for her business acumen but also for the number of times she has been married.
Her latest marriage to Ismail Segujja, a businessman caused a stir, coming less than a year after her late husband Maj. General Kiggundu was shot alongside his bodyguard.
She was given a present, commonly known as Mahare in Islamic faith, of £4,000 (about Shs19m) in cash.
The city socialite, mother of five said to own businesses and properties in South Africa has been in the news right from when she entered into a relationship and had children with Diamond Platinumz (Tanzanian musician) a man a few years her junior.
She has had a painful year this year right from the loss of her ex-husband Ivan Ssemwanga and shortly afterwards, the demise of her mother. When news broke of Platinumz infidelity, resulting in a child with Tanzania model Mobeto, it was like the last straw in a year filled with ill fortune. What ensued was a social media war which sucked in Zari and Diamond’s fans.
She also has had to deal with the public criticising her over her choice of husband and having the public fight her relationship battles.
She has always been in the news as a celebrity’s wife but this year, her status changed, starting on her husband’s campaign trail in Kyadondo East where she became a fixture, wearing gomesis and kneeling before the crowds in support of her husband who was aspiring to be Member of Parliament.
Even if some people did not believe that he could make a good leader, she strongly believed in him and stood by him.
Alongside becoming an MP’s wife, she also scooped ambassadorial roles for products such as Livara Cosmetics Products where her youngest daughter features as the face of the line and the new innovative Philips Avent Comfort breast pump and other breastfeeding support accessories.
She is a female politician who serves as the Chairperson of the Women’s League in the main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) political party and also the National Political Mobiliser for the FDC political party.
She has had a series of political dramas this year which has kept her in the public eye, right from the EALA Parliament campaigns where she was booed in parliament, to the age limit time when she attempted to use public means to get to where she needed to be but was arrested and other incidents such as the goat dressed in red that caught the public’s attention.
For her outspoken, hilarious nature and excessive love for the National Resistance Movement party, she has been insulted but she never stopped doing what she felt was right. Memorable moments include her being carried on a dais through the streets of her municipality, all decked in yellow as well as famously invoking the might of the army to intimidate those opposed to lifting the age limit.
She also has had numerous confrontations with the public on social media.
Geraldine Ssali Busuulwa, the former Deputy Managing Director of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) was involved in a very public boardroom fight with her bosses at the Fund. When she was suspended from her job, she sued the company demanding for Shs1 billion but later demanded for Shs200 million to withdraw the case and with time she got back to NSSF to work.
When her contract expired, it was not renewed; an act she saw as unfair, prompting her to write the president seeking audience.