The Bududa woman MP and State Minister for Karamoja affairs Agness Nandutu aka Point Blank life story is one that goes with the saying never give up on your dreams no matter how hard the situation is.
Nandutu who never knew what the future holds for her dropped out of school in s3 due to a lack of school fees after her mother who was a housemaid in Kenya also took her to do the same job in Kenya in order to earn a living.
”I was born in a poor family and my parents separated when I was still young so I grew up with my paternal grandfather. I studied my primary in Bumawali Primary school and we used to first dig before going to school. I got an aggregate 5 in P7” Nandutu narrated.
”I dropped out of school before senior four and I decided to cross over from Bududa to Kenya where I worked as a housemaid in Nakuru and later Nairobi. My mother was working as a housemaid in Kenya too and I worked there for 3 years” she added
Nandutu later returned from Kenya and then went to Mbale Town to become a bar and restaurant waitress. She did the jobs so well that even the owners of the businesses liked her work.
”My mother sent me back to Uganda but I was demotivated to go back to school so I decided to head to Mbale where I worked in a restaurant and bar. My bosses liked me because I was a hard worker and trustworthy. I later came to Kampala with my cousin” she said.
”In Kampala, we were living in Wabigalo, a slum in Namuwongo and my plan was to land a job in a good restaurant or hotel, make money and go back to school. My cousin had a friend at Radio Uganda and I used to tour the place and one day I gave it a try”
In her journey to the media, Nandutu did voice training and started presenting a health show on radio as a freelancer then and her first salary was UGX 16000 as her friend encouraged her to study journalism and she joined the Uganda Institute of Business and Media studies and got a certificate.
Nandutu later joined Monitor as a writer and when her first story appeared in the paper, she decided to go back to school and got a diploma to improve her writing skills while freelancing both at Radio Uganda and Monitor before she joined Impact radio.
”Within the time I joined Impact radio had four children. I had to juggle motherhood and about four jobs at the same time. I started reporting at the parliament at Impact FM and one time while I was in the field at the workshop I got into labor”. she noted
Nandutu’s journey into politics started when she started people’s parliament that airs on NTV and people started giving her ideas to join politics which later pushed her to go back to school.
”When I started the people’s Parliament I wanted to give people a voice. People started pushing me to stand for MP but I wasn’t interested. I wanted to retire in the newsroom. In 2013 I went back to school at Uphill College Mbuya to complete my S4” Nandutu said
”I sat my senior 6 in the same school in 2015 and I did not pass so I went back in 2017 and resat my exams. Wherever I could go, people were pushing me to join politics, my Pastor inclusive. Daniel Kalinaki encouraged me to join politics without money” she noted
Nandutu noted that in Bududa primaries, she walked door to door because she had no money but unlucky she lost primaries. During elections, two people were disqualified which worked to her advantage. The incumbent won 2/28 sub-counties and Nandutu was declared the winner.
As God would not forget His own servant, to her surprise, Nandutu appeared on the list of Museveni’s cabinet which she says she never expected.
” I did not see the ministerial position coming as a first-timer. The president has been my friend for a long time as a journalist but we were not that close. Being an MP was enough for me because winning a seat was a miracle. I read the cabinet list and cried because I was in disbelief” Nandutu said