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Tragic Childhood Shaped Agnes Auma's Achy Journey to Parliament

At two years, Auma lost her father; Major General David Oyite Ojok, a man who commanded one of the forces that overthrew President Idi Amin Dada in 1979 and later became Chief of Staff of the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA).
Linda Agnes Auma during an interview.

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The election of Linda Agnes Auma, as the Woman Member of Parliament for Lira District unveils the climax of a journey punctuated with box personal tragedy and triumph. 

At two years, Auma lost her father; Major General David Oyite Ojok, a man who commanded one of the forces that overthrew President Idi Amin Dada in 1979 and later became Chief of Staff of the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). He died in 1783, in a helicopter crash, together with nine other army officers while supervising operations against the National Resistance Army (NRA). 

Auma lost her mother six years later and she herself became a mother at 16, and at that point, the last of her dreams appeared shuttered. She has no recollection of the image of her father, the man that many at the time saw as the real power behind the presidency. 

From a seemingly unlikely source, Auma would get what she calls another father who has held her hand till today. Determined to turn her life around, she ventured into politics and became the Lira Municipal Youth Chairperson under the National Youth Council. The district tasked her with the responsibility of training young mothers, like herself with vocational skills. 

In 2006, she was elected the youth councillor for the then Central Division in Lira Municipal, from where she spearheaded the demand for compensation of the Lango war claimants. 

A year later, aged 26, Auma returned to school. Then, as a mother of two, she joined Lira Integrated Secondary School to complete her O’level, while her children were admitted at the primary and nursery section of the same school. Her school dues were paid by President Yoweri Museveni. 

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However, she could not enrol for Advanced Level. As a mother and a wife, she endured poverty and violence, which slowed her progress in school. But still, she opted for a certificate course in Accounting and subsequently enrolled for a diploma in Business Administration. While in her second year of the diploma course, Auma opted to register for senior six and studied concurrently. Today, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. 

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In 2016 Auma contested for the Lira Woman parliamentary seat on the National Resistance Movement ticket but lost in the primaries. The seat would eventually go to Joy Ongom, the Uganda People’s Congress candidate. Subsequently, President Museveni appointed Auma as Resident District Commissioner (RDC) in Amuru District where she has served until last year when she came back to participate in another round of elections.

She says she was not sure of her chances, even when she resigned to contest for the seat because in the same race was Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng. But, an opportunity presented itself when Lira Municipality was elevated to City status, creating three elective positions in Parliament. 

However, she still lost the party primaries and this time opted to contest as an independent candidate for the District MP seat, while Aceng contested as the City MP. She was in the race with Florence Onginaa, the NRM’s flag bearer, Gloria Akello, an Independent candidate and Margret Ateng Otim, a veteran politician and UPC party candidate. Auma emerged victorious with 22,086 votes against her closet contender Florence Ongina who got 19,004 votes. 

Auma recollects signs of triumph when multitudes of supporters dedicated their time and money to campaign for her, treating like a queen and elevating her to a status that she had never imagined.  She describes her journey to parliament as a big fight which only God could finish.

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Auma says that Despite the fact that she was born into a UPC home, she holds the NRM, so dear, that she cannot let go.  Although she adds, the campaigns exposed trails of betrayal from among party members.

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Gideon Omony, a voter from Bar sub-county in Lira District says Auma was born a leader.  

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From a tragic childhood, Auma has now emerged as a torchbearer not only for her family but for the women of Lira District.

Her firstborn daughter Shakila Among Mwenyi, now aged 23, was crowned Miss Lira in 2017.  Having been the Face of Lango Cultural Heritage, she was in 2020 crowned Miss Tourism Northern Region, a position she holds till today. Among also won elections to represent the Youth at Lira City Council.

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