Sylvia Owori declares intention to unseat Opendi in Tororo

Sylvia Owori declares intention to unseat Opendi in Tororo
Opendi and Owori could clash in Tororo in 2026 | Image montage courtesy

POLITICS | Former fashionista and Miss Uganda franchise holder Sylvia Owori has announced intentions to wrestle the Tororo District Woman MP seat from Sarah Opendi in the 2026 general elections.

Ms Owori, 52, is the director of Operation Wealth Creation that is led by Gen Salim Saleh - under whose wings she has been since 2015.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday, Ms Owori tagged her now-challenger Opendi, saying: "@SarahOpendi, I will be standing as Woman MP of Tororo. Let the best woman win."

Former two-time State minister (for dealth and mineral development) Ms Opendi is serving for the second time as the Woman MP for Tororo.

Ms Opendi has been unapologetically controversial in Parliament, often for good reasons. She has raffled feathers with her comments on the floor and irked the nation with some Bills like those seeking to control the sale and consumption of alcohol.

Her push for automatic conversion of cohabitation into marriage drew cheers as she argued "if you have been living with someone’s daughter or son as man and wife for six months but without taking legal steps to solemnize the relationship, a law should be in place to declare you husband and wife, with all the legal implications and benefits."

But calling for homosexuals to be castrated during the debate on the anti-gay law got her finger burnt when the US Embassy in Kampala pushed her visa application into the trash bin.


Owori ups the ante

But now Sylvia Owori, one of the most famous women in Uganda over the last two decades, has thrown her makeup kit into the Tororo Woman MP race.

Ms Owori, by virtue of her association with Gen Salim Saleh, is already seen as a political lobbyist, working under President Museveni's brother who is seen as the biggest political mover and shaker in the country.

A jerk of all trade, few woman have walked the stilettoes of Ms Owori, who has lived as go-getter a life as she has ventured on the daring.

From 1999 when she took a then 25-year-old I-don't-care Eva Mbabazi out of TV clips and billboards of her Sylvie’s Boutique to peddle her skin and flesh live for Kampala.

Ms Owori made model Eva Mbabazi wear her latest fashion clothes and stand in strategic locations in Kampala.

The highlight was the fishnet dress that Owori had just imported. Mbabazi simply threw on a G-String and bra to hide the little they could and went to work at Rock Gardens.

Sylvie’s Boutique hit the skies of Kampala with that fashion statement.

Ms Owori, whose bio shows she holds a bachelor's degree in Business from the University of Derby, studied fashion design at Newham College in London, beginning at the age of 19.

She would return home and open Sylvie's Boutique that grew to hold major branches at Garden City Mall, at Mabirizi Complex, and another in Kilimani in Nairobi, Kenya.

From selling imported clothes, Ms Owori ventured into designing and manufacturing for herself.

In 2000, she was  selected to design the clothes worn by the contestants at the MNet Face of Africa, in Dar es Salaam and Cape Town.

The following year, in 2001, she was selected to design the clothes worn by the Ugandan finalist at the Nokia Face of Africa competition.

But beside the splash with the fishnet and Sylvie's Boutique, Owori got her real stilettoes up between 2001 and 2004 as the franchise holder of Miss Uganda Beauty Pageant, becoming easily the most famous society personality in the country.

The former Zipa Models boss who also had her own own clothesline under the Sylvia Owori label, would venture into publishing and promoting the face of woman in the region with 'Africa Woman Magazine'.

The glossy monthly publication with circulation in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania was housed behind Vision Group in Industrial Area.

Ms Owori's foray into politics, thus, comes as the personality with "been-there-and-done-that" and while Opendi's political mileage has the edge, local observers believe anyone who has the blessings of Gen Salim Saleh has the electorate's attention.

But this is politics, not the catwalk and the mother of two could just be about to find out the differences.

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