When they say miracles don’t come from far, this has been witnessed by the changes that happened in the life of Agnes Nandutu with being appointed the new State Minister of Karamoja Affairs.
While appearing on NTV’s Mwasuze Mutya morning show, Agnes narrated her career growths and challenges that have made her be who she is now.
She was subjected to poverty at a young age while in Bududa. With her parents breaking up, she ended up staying with her grandfather.
She dropped out of P7 due to a lack of money for school fees and headed to Kenya to work as a housemaid with her mother.
Subsequently, she worked as a housemaid for three years and also served as a barmaid in Nairobi. She later came back to Uganda as a barmaid in Mbale Town following the advice of the mother.
She moved to Kampala and started living with her cousin in the slums of Wabigalo. The intention for her movement was to find a job as a waitress. She also loved being a media representative.
Lucky enough, the cousin had a friend in Radio Uganda who enabled me to start voice training hence handling me a health program.
“My friend encouraged me to study journalism. I went to Uganda Institute of Business and Media studies and got a certificate,” she revealed.
She started freelancing as a news reporter for Impact FM and as a Kampala correspondent for Mbale’s Open Gate FM. Later on, she landed a job at Daily Monitor.
From Daily Monitor, she joined NTV in 2008 with the qualifications she had. I guess it was luck following her.
She became popular while presenting NTV’s news satire show “Point Blank” and later People’s Parliament respectively.
Nandutu who was serving as one of NTV’s Parliament reporters was barred from covering the August House by the Speaker’s Office on grounds that she didn’t have academic qualifications.
“They first said that those journalists who had covered Parliament for so long should give the others a chance. We went to court and defeated them, so they changed their tactics and said only degree holders should cover Parliament, well knowing I didn’t have a degree,” Nandutu said.
Legislators like Cecilia Ogwal, Hon. Tashobya and Fox Odio spoke to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to allow me to continue reporting at Parliament but she refused.
“I was chased from Parliament even as an individual. One time, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah called me and when Chris Obore (Director of Communications) saw me at Parliament; he went and complained to the security questioning them why they permitted me in. Later, I went on Facebook and confronted Obore and told him the Parliament isn’t his home. When I left the Parliament, I asked God that as I was chased as a journalist, I should return as an MP. Right now I’m Obore’s boss. I can summon him on communication matters,” Nandutu said.
Following her expulsion from the Parliament, she opted for adult education while working at NTV Uganda as a journalist.
In 2013, she returned to school and joined Uphill College Mbuya where she sat for her Ordinary Level in 2014.
“I asked for admission and they wondered why!!! I told them i wanted to study,” she recalled.
She sat for her A’ Level in 2016 and failed. Regardless, she decided to try again in 2017 and passed her examinations.
“When I failed S.6, I said winners will never quit, so I tried again and passed. I have an S.4 and S.6 certificate and I’m hoping to enrol for a degree. I aim to attain a degree,” she revealed.
Nandutu first ran under NRM party primaries and lost. She decided to run as Independent for the Bududa District MP seat. However, due to different circumstances, she decided to travel to the campaign grounds. She was later declared the winner.
Nandutu says the news of being named a minister found her at her neighbour’s place as she was winding down the evening.
“First they announced Jessica Alupo as the Vice President and I was happy for her. Then a commissioner in the ministry of education sent me a message saying congratulations honourable minister. I called back immediately and told him to stop making jokes. And he sent me the list and I saw my name. I couldn’t believe it. I said I’m a minister, from house girl to cabinet, I cried. I went back home and found my children jubilation, making a lot of noise. Neighbours came thinking there might be a problem and I told them I had been named a minister. They joined in on the celebrations,” she narrated.