Meet Uganda’s New 19-Year-Old Parliament Member

It’s “not age” that matters, but rather “the brain and the knowledge that one has,” she says.

At just 19 years old, Proscovia Alengot Oromait was recently elected to Ugandan Parliament, making her the youngest (and first teenage) politician in all of Africa. She had plans to go to college after graduating high school last year, but those plans were derailed when her father, also a politician, died in July. She decided to run for his spot as a Parliament member in their local Usuk county, and ended up winning by a large margin, with almost twice as many votes as the race’s runner-up.

Some, naturally have questioned her age. But Oromait said in a local TV interview that age shouldn’t be a concern:

“It does not matter. It’s not age that works, it’s the brain and the knowledge that one has.”

Oromait is not the world’s first teenage Parliament member. Sweden elected an 18-year-old in 2010, while Canada elected a 19-year-old in 2011.

Outside of working on her father’s campaigns, Oromait’s experience comes from school, where she headed the debate club, the school newsletter, and the patriotism club.

In Parliament, she says she’ll focus on things like improving roads and education.

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