There are few autobiographies of African women leaders, however, an author from Harrow has penned a new book celebrating Dr Margaret Mungherera, a natural leader who never campaigned for leadership, but was always put forward by others who had faith in her ability to stand up unflinchingly for the voiceless.
The Vulnerable and the Mighty tells Margaret’s story of campaigning for leadership, put forward by others who had faith in her ability to stand up unflinchingly for the voiceless.
Margaret was a huge personality, an optimist, with a great sense of humour, she easily made long-lasting friends. She advocated for gender equality, universal health access, and the welfare of health workers. Leadership opportunities came her way unexpectedly, however, she would rise up to the challenge and during her tenure, prove to be a dynamic and transformational leader.
The eldest in a family of six siblings, a prefect in all her schools, the first woman President of the Ugandan Medical Association, the first African woman President of the World Medical Association and the first African women President-Elect of the International Association Medical Regulatory Authorities, she was all this and more. The book describes Margaret’s deep concern about the brutality of civil wars, especially their destructive impact on girls and women.
She initiated the charity Hope After Rape, a particularly proud achievement and a legacy that lasts to this day. What distinguishes Margaret is the complexity and precariousness of situations within which she was forced to lead. She struggled to understand the ideology that gave rise to violent extremists like Alice Lakwena, Joseph Kony, Joseph Kibwetere. Their cult movements resulted in the brutal murders and mutilations of thousands of innocent rural people, causing long-term mental trauma of innumerable others.
The impact of this was the unprecedented patient numbers presenting at Butabika Mental Hospital. Rising up to the challenge, she persuaded and led a depleted, overworked, underpaid staff team to manage these severely traumatised patients. In times of crisis, it is more important than ever to motivate and inspire others. Her presence, ability to relate to others and ability to generate trust within her team got her staff through these clinics. Her personal ambition was to be a Forensic Psychiatrist in an established Forensic Hospital, but that was never to be. Kirinnya forensic ward and Luzira prison were the full extents of her forensic work
At the height of her achievements, having taken early retirement, her sights set on the IAMRA presidency, she was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. She fought relentlessly to the very end. She never gave up her fight for life. On 11th February 2017, returning from her extraordinary burial, Harrow author Dorothy realised that few of the hundreds of people who attended that funeral knew the extent of Margaret’s life. “I hope this biography exudes some of her powerful personality, her intelligence, her leadership in the face of insurmountable challenges, the humorous, engaging force that was Margaret.”