Teen Wins Parliament Seat In Uganda

A teenager in Uganda has won a seat in the country’s parliament, adding to the ruling party’s majority, while embarrassing some who believe her success lowers the expectations of lawmakers in the country in East Africa.

Proscovia Oromait, a 19-year-old recent high school graduate and college hopeful, contested elections deep in eastern Uganda, in order to fill the seat that was left vacant by her father’s death, reports The Washington Post.

The ruling party of President Yoweri Museveni was desperate for a win in the area, because they have already lost seven of eight parliamentary by-elections in 2012.

Ninemsn notes that the polls have widely been seen as a test of Museveni’s popularity, with some party bosses calculating that Oromait would win the election based on a sympathy vote. The result of the vote means the election of Uganda’s youngest lawmaker ever (and a boost for the ruling party).

Michael Mukula, a lawmaker who is one of the ruling party’s deputy chairmen, stated that Oromait’s win has divided the party into reformers and hardliners who wish to win no matter what it costs. Mukula stated:

“I am a bit concerned and taken aback because of her lack of experience and lack of exposure. This is not a constituency you want to give a child of that age to shoulder.”

Barnabas Tinkasiimire, who is a lawmaker with the ruling party with the reputation of a nonconformist, has said that Oromait’s election is an embarrassment to Uganda. Referring to the teenage lawmaker, Tinkasiimire stated, “When you analyze that baby … what kind of knowledge and experience does she have? This is unbelievable.”