Deaf Murangira Now Aims for EALA Seat

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 00:00 Written by  The Observer Administrator
ACTIVE: Ambrose Murangira has not been set back by his impairement ACTIVE: Ambrose Murangira has not been set back by his impairement

But 30-year-old Ambrose Murangira, who is in the race for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), is not deterred. Born on February 14, 1982 with his hearing intact, Murangira became deaf ten years later due to mumps.

He was among the NRM contenders for the youth parliamentary seat (western) that was eventually won by Gerald Karuhanga, an independent candidate. But this has not ended his political journey. Murangira is among the NRM members now seeking election to the EALA.

According to our sources, he has learnt from his failure and expects to be a much more competitive candidate this time round.  During the campaigns, Murangira was ridiculed for being unable to audibly articulate issues affecting the youth.

His strategists have since advised him to try and speak in whichever way he can, to disarm his critics. So, when you meet him, he mumbles enough words to put his message across:

“How are you…EALA…vote me…”, before his sign language interpreter comes in to help him advance the conversation.

His stregth

Murangira, who has a master’s degree in social sector planning and management from Makerere University, rides on his active participation in the NRM party. Currently chairperson of the party’s youth league in Ibanda district, Murangira has authored two pro-NRM booklets: Seven Red Cards, None for Museveni and Special Interest Groups Empowered by NRM, which he says the President and his party used in last year’s election campaigns. He is also author of Children: Know Your Rights.

Plan for EALA

If elected, Murangira says he would ensure that all East African Community (EAC) plans and budgets address critical needs of special interest groups, including the youth, women, persons with disabilities (PWDs), the elderly and refugees.

“Without inclusive development, achieving a political federation will be a dream. Inclusive planning and budgeting requires us to think deeper about unique needs of each group. We must strive towards an inclusive community; a community of everyone. We must enact appropriate legislation to empower these groups,” he says.

Murangira also undertakes to create awareness about the EAC, boost Uganda’s competitiveness in the community and lobby for the enactment of a strong anti-terrorism law. Deaf as he is, Murangira wants to achieve his life goals on merit, not by virtue of his disability. This is why he opts for open contests rather than standing on the disability ticket. In an earlier interview with The Observer during the youth parliamentary elections, he explained why.

“Am I not a young person first? When you analyse my experience and activism, I’m better positioned to serve young people. I’ve been to Ntare School and Makerere University; are they institutions for PWDs?” Murangira argued.

Although he does not seek to capitalise on his physical disability, his strategists say his election would uplift Uganda’s standing with respect to empowering PWDs.

“His contesting for EALA is going to be a testing moment for Uganda, which became one of the first few countries to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of PWDs, requiring state parties to give PWDs fair self-representation at all levels,” one of his campaign agents told The Observer.

NRM candidates against whom Murangira will compete include former ministers Omara Atubo and Hope Mwesigye. But he is not intimidated by the stiff competition.

“My philosophy is ‘never give up’. I think the challenges I went through when I became deaf at the age of 10 made me a strong person who believes that everything is possible if you don’t give up,” he says.

Murangira, who holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and social administration, is currently chairperson of the Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD) and a board member of the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU).

Information Source

The Observer