Interview: NUP's Shamim Nambassa hints at running for Kampala Woman MP seat

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Interview: NUP's Shamim Nambassa hints at running for Kampala Woman MP seat
Shamim Nambassa

Former Makerere University's 87th Guild President and the fifth female to hold the position, Shamim Nambassa, has responded to speculation about her potential candidacy for the Kampala woman MP seat, currently held by Shamim Malende.

In an interview with the Nile Post, Nambassa, a pharmacist by profession and a dedicated member of the National Unity Platform (NUP) led by Robert Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine, expressed gratitude for the support and encouragement received, emphasizing her appreciation for the trust and confidence placed in her.

She assured supporters that when the time is appropriate, she will communicate her decision regarding the matter.

Excerpts below


Who is Shamim Nambassa?

Shamim Nambassa is a pharmacist currently interning at Yumbe Regional Referral Hospital. She notably held the position of the 87th Guild President of Makerere University. Beyond her academic and leadership roles, she actively engages as a public health advocate and is dedicated to women's empowerment. She proudly hails from Butambala, as the daughter of the late Mr. Mugalula Abdul and Mrs. Twerebe Medias.

Were you closer to one of your parents, and why?

I believe I was closer to my father because our personalities were quite similar.

Can you walk me through your educational background? Which schools did you attend?

I began my academic journey at Parental Care School in Kasese for my primary education. Following that, I pursued my secondary education at Nabisunsa Girls School, completing both my O and A-levels there. Subsequently, I enrolled at Makerere University, where I obtained my Bachelor of Pharmacy degree.

Have you always been interested in politics? When did that passion start?

I have always been passionate about leadership, which sparked early on during my education. From primary school onward, I have actively pursued opportunities to serve in various leadership roles.

Did you hold any leadership positions in school? What motivated you to run for guild presidency?

Yes, I held various leadership positions during my educational journey. For instance, I served as the head prefect at Nabisunsa Girls School in 2017, as the guild representative councillor for the School of Health Sciences and as the guild academic affairs minister in 2021. Additionally, I went on to serve as the Makerere Guild President from 2021 to 2022. My motivation to run for guild presidency stemmed from my experience as a guild minister, where I felt equipped to take on the role. Moreover, I was driven by a deep commitment to advocate for students' rights, especially during a time when the civic space was shrinking.

Was either of your parents a leader?

Not particularly, no.

How did you manage to balance a demanding course like Pharmacy with leadership responsibilities?

Balancing a demanding course like Pharmacy with leadership responsibilities was indeed challenging. I prioritized effective time management, allocating specific times for studying and fulfilling my leadership duties. Additionally, I relied on the support of my discussion group, whose collaboration made the juggling act more manageable.

Do you see yourself pursuing a career in politics full-time, or will you continue with your profession?

I envision a future where I can successfully balance both a career in politics and my profession. I believe that with dedication and strategic planning, I can effectively manage both spheres of my life.

What drew you to the National Unity Platform (NUP) among other political parties?

I was drawn to the National Unity Platform (NUP) for several reasons. Firstly, it provides a platform specifically tailored for young people, offering opportunities for growth and active participation in governance. Additionally, the party's beliefs and ideology strongly resonate with my own, making it a natural fit for me to align myself with.

Tell me about the moment you first met the National Unity Platform (NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.

The first time I met President Bobi Wine was after winning the Makerere NUP flag bearer primaries. It was an exhilarating moment, and what struck me the most was his genuine ability to relate to young people like myself. His expression of belief in our potential was incredibly inspiring and reassuring, further solidifying my commitment to the party's vision and mission.

Which words did Bobi Wine tell you that you will never forget?

He expressed his belief in me and saw great potential in my abilities.

There's been talk about you running for the Kampala woman MP seat, currently held by Shamim Malende, also an NUP member. Is this true? If so, what's driving your decision?

While there has been speculation about my potential candidacy for the Kampala woman MP seat, I appreciate the support and encouragement from those who believe in me. At this moment, I am grateful for their trust and confidence. Rest assured, when the time is right, I will communicate my decision.

Should I say people want you to contest against Shamim Malende in 2026?

I don't believe it's specifically about Honorable Malende. Rather, it's about the recognition of potential in me.

But who are those people pushing you to contest?

I can't pinpoint any specific individuals.

Apart from running against her, would you consider contesting in 2026?

I am considering contesting in 2026, and I will communicate further details in due course.

How did your experience as guild president shape your political aspirations?

Serving as guild president was a transformative experience that deepened my understanding of leadership dynamics. It provided me with invaluable lessons in decision-making, representation, and policy formulation—essential skills for any aspiring leader.

As a student leader, you likely faced challenges from university administrators or government officials. How did you navigate those situations, and what did you learn from them?

Navigating the challenges of leadership in a politically charged environment like Makerere University required resilience and strategic thinking. Despite facing skepticism and opposition, I remained steadfast in advocating for student interests. Learning when to engage in dialogue and when to stand firm was crucial in overcoming obstacles.

In your view, how can the current political landscape in Uganda be made more inclusive for young people and women, and what role do you see yourself playing in that effort?

To foster inclusivity, we need to empower young people and women by involving them in decision-making processes at all levels. Addressing stereotypes and providing mentorship opportunities are vital steps towards achieving this goal. Personally, I am committed to leading by example, mentoring aspiring leaders, and advocating for increased representation.

What policy changes or initiatives do you think are necessary to address pressing issues facing Ugandan youth, such as unemployment and access to education?

To tackle youth unemployment, implementing policies that incentivize companies to absorb recent graduates into the workforce, perhaps through internship programs, is essential. Additionally, enhancing the quality of education in public schools and expanding government sponsorship opportunities for tertiary education can help address barriers to access.

If you were given the chance to be president of Uganda for one week, what's one thing you would change?

I would prioritize improving access to medical services by allocating additional funds to the health sector, ensuring that every Ugandan has access to quality healthcare when they need it most.

What are your hobbies and passions outside of politics?

Outside of politics, I enjoy reading and watching documentaries. Engaging in activities that contribute to my knowledge base is something I find fulfilling.

Are there any regrets in your life that you'd like to share?

I can't say I have any significant regrets in my life. I've always been deliberate in my decision-making process, carefully considering the implications of each choice before proceeding.

Lastly, what advice would you give to young people just starting out in politics and facing challenges or discouragement?

Believe in yourself. Confidence in your abilities is contagious and can inspire others to support your cause. Remember, there's no better time to start than now.

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