President Museveni yesterday tapped Nyirabashitsi Sarah Mateke, Women Representative (MP) for Kisoro District for his Minister of State for Gender, Labour and Social Development (Youth and Children Affairs) to replace Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi.
Nyirabashitsi is one of the most sought-after politicians in Kigezi sub region because of the bold choices she has made in her political career. She has carved a niche for herself in national politics and took a break from Parliament to focus on educating children and youth between 2016 and 2021.
On her appointment, Nyirabashitsi said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the congratulatory messages. They are very much appreciated. I would like to thank in a special way the appointing authority, the President of the Republic of Uganda who has deemed it fit to appoint me to serve in his new cabinet. I am deeply honoured and would like to reiterate that together with God being our guide we will do more.”
A proprietor of the Metropolitan International University based in Kisoro, Sarah is of the view that without a united collective voice that might at least provide a coherent message on behalf of the youth, there is limited pressure on leaders to engage beyond rhetoric.
Nyirabashitsi is also doing projects in public health and philanthropy which other politicians, in Kisoro district, have not thought of doing. Thanks to her versatility and dedication towards the youth, and her passion for the ruling National Resistance Movement party. Her love for the ruling party and mobilization skills that has seen H.E the president win Kisoro district by over 95%, in almost all presidential elections, could have landed her the ministerial position.
Through her Nyirabashitsi Foundation, the politician has supported over 1000 children with an opportunity to join boarding secondary schools from senior one to senior six with all their school needs catered for – work that the government has been taking note of.
Nyirabashitsi, who bowled over her opponents in the just concluded Parliamentary elections was born on July 15, 1974 to Mr Philemon Mateke and Mrs Joy Mateke in the former Chahi subcounty, now Kisoro Municipality, as the 3rd born of their 6 offspring. Her father is the outgoing State Minister for Regional Affairs. She attended Seseme Integrated School before she was admitted to Maryhill High School for secondary education. She studied at Bugema University, graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
Mateke also holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Bugema and a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration and Management attained at Uganda Christian University.
After graduating from university, she entered the business world, overseeing the vast of family’s produce, timber, and transport businesses before joining public service as Assistant Town Clerk of then Kisoro Town Council. This is where her burning desire for public service was born, prompting her to follow the father’s footsteps. In 2011, she contested and won the Kisoro District Woman parliamentary seat, beating the then incumbent, Eudia Kwizera, in a hotly contested election.
At Ministry of Gender, Ms. Nyirabashitsi will be tasked to oversee children’s welfare and youth empowerment programs. Her vast experience as a public servant, educationist, politician, and philanthropy makes her a perfect fit for the job.
Nyirabashitsi will use her experience to provide leadership to government flagship programs concerning children welfare, youth entrepreneurship, livelihoods and employment, including the famous Emyooga, and Youth Livelihood Fund.