Makubuya’s wife advised UK, US on gender issues


With over 20 years of working experience, Mukasa worked with the ministry of gender, labour and social development as a legal officer in charge of research and legal aid.


Stella Nansinkombi Mukasa, the wife of third Deputy Katikkiro, Apollo Makubuya, has been described as an expert in gender, governance and human rights.

She succumbed to cancer on Wednesday in Virginia, USA, where she was undergoing treatment.

According to colleagues, Stella has been advising governments, international NGOs and multilaterals on issues ranging from human rights based approaches, women’s access to justice, violence against women and girls, political participation and leadership development.

Organisations she offered her advice include: U.K Department for International Development (DFID); United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD); Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), her social media linked in account indicates.

“Stella died peacefully at 3:39pm. Plans are underway to bring back Stella’s body home. A detailed programme for the vigil and funeral arrangements will be communicated in due course,” Makubuya said in a statement circulated on social media.

Mukasa attended Gayaza High School, before joining Makerere University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in law and later Law Development Centre.

She obtained a Master’s degree in law from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

‘A gem among us’

Jackie Asiimwe Mwesige, a lawyer and a feminist, eulogised her friend as “one of those near-perfect people — with no hair out of place”.

“She was the classic prim and proper Gayaza girl and I looked up to her for that reason. She had a beautiful soprano voice, she was a brainy. She was all I aspired to be.”

Mweside added: “I will always remember Stella’s grace, her elegance, her tenacity, her brilliance, her calm demeanor, her relentless fight for justice. Stella was truly a gem among us. Her light must not go out. We must continue in her footsteps and pursue justice with everything within us!”

With over 20 years of working experience, Mukasa worked with the ministry of gender, labour and social development as a legal officer in charge of research and legal aid.

She also worked with Makerere University’s faculty of social sciences and Nordic Consulting Group Uganda, before joining International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), an NGO, as director of the Africa regional office.

ICRW, on their website, describes Stella as a person who worked around the world to ensure that every woman and girl around the world has a chance to succeed.

Once asked in an interview about her ICRW’s work, Mukasa replied: “Women’s empowerment and gender equality are very essential components of improving the quality and the reach of development interventions. So what we do at ICRW – we use research and advocacy as tools that promote these important issues, including women’s empowerment and gender equality, along with the aim of improving the quality and reach of development interventions.”

She said her work helped make women’s voices heard on what their issues and priorities are.

To express her love for women rights activism and empowerment, Mukasa’s wish for the year 2015 was to see an increased investment in the prevention and response of violence against women especially in conflict and post-conflict settings.

She desired to see increased attention in mental health and psychosocial support services for survivors of sexual and gender based violence especially in examining and disseminating promising interventions.

Mukasa led a programme for strengthening the capacity of partner organisations working on women’s land and property rights and gender-based violence in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

She served as chair and vice chair on the boards of Akina Mama wa Afrika, ActionAid International Uganda, and the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) respectively.

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