Maureen Osoru, the Arua Woman MP, was recently elected president of the Forum of Young Parliamentarians of the Inter Parliamentary Union in Dhaka, Bangladesh, after triumphing over opponents from Russia and Zambia.
The 27-year-old lawmaker is part of the Ugandan delegation that attended the 136th IPU meeting in Bangladesh. Osoru went to parliament after defeating Christine Bako Abia, the former Arua woman MP, in last year’s elections and is currently serving her first term.
“I want to tackle youth unemployment in my district by establishing small income- generating projects,” said Osoru in an interview with The Observer recently.
Over the years, she has been training her women and youth constituents to make crafts such as handbags, leather sandals and jewellery, among other things, from which they could earn and improve their lives.
An accountant by profession, Osoru seeks to fight corruption in the government and other public offices.
“My coming to parliament and becoming the president of the IPU youth body is an opportunity to voice the concerns of young people,” Osoru said.
She maintains that politics has nothing to do with age.
“It is about the brain,” she says while laughing, adding that whether you are young or old, people will make demands.
Born to Sabua Ajio and Loyce Adiru in Arua district, the accountant, who holds a University of East London degree, started her educational journey in her home town of Arua until primary four. She completed her primary education at Kirinya Parents’ primary school in Bweyogerere before joining Kisubi high school for her O-level.
Osoru later joined Queensway high school, a branch of Kisubi high school, for her senior five before completing her senior six at Forest Hill College in Mukono. She is yet to start her master’s in Business Administration at Makerere University.
In her free time, Osoru enjoys listening to music, especially reggae and RnB. She also enjoys going out with her friends, although she is quick to note that her outings are limited to evening hours and she is always home by 9pm.
“But most of the time, I am just concentrating on my crafts. I am also venturing into making reusable pads to help my women and girls,” says Osoru who is currently single, with no plans of settling down soon.
Osoru maintains that her first responsibility is to the people she represents.
“I want to change their lives and make them better. My people come first in whatever I do,” says Osoru who is living her childhood dream of leading her people.
Her advice to the youth is to actively get involved in politics if they want better governance. She also encourages them to be compassionate and reminds them that two heads are better than one.
“Whether you like it or not, you cannot do everything on your own. You have to consult and get assistance from others,” counsels Osoru.
Outside politics, Osoru’s biggest challenge is the failure to interact with people who think highly of themselves.
“I have noticed that many middle income earners in Uganda are reluctant to interact with the less fortunate,” notes Osoru.
She finds it unbelievable that someone can buy very expensive clothes yet decline buying a starving street child a meal. Besides being a member of parliament, Osoru runs a wine shop called Ajio Sabua Enterprises in Kikuubo, downtown Kampala.