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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 3rd June 2016 > UGANDA’S CHOSEN


The election of a rabbi to Uganda’s national Parliament is a symbolic victory for the country’s tiny Jewish community



AS UGANDA’S President Yoweri Museveni celebrated yet another election success in late February—he has been in power for 30 years—Rabbi Gershom Sizomu and his followers in the remote eastern village of Nabugoye were celebrating an electoral victory of their own. The head of a tiny rural community of Ugandan Jews, known as the Abayudaya, Sizomu had made history on February 19, becoming the first Jewish candidate to win a seat in the country’s Parliament.

“I had a flash of happiness through my body,” says Sizomu, who won 29 percent of the votes in his constituency of Bungokho North, a rural area near the Kenyan border. “We don’t ask for a lot. Political influence is good for our survival.” When Sizomu was sworn in, in mid-May, he became the only Jew among some 380 lawmakers.

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