Rabbi Gershom Sizomu becomes first Jew to serve in Ugandan Parliament

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Gershom Sizomu

Sizomu ran for Parliament once before in 2011, finishing second amidst allegations of election-fixing.

Ugandan Rabbi Gershom Sizomu has reportedly won a highly coveted seat in the nation’s Parliament, making history as the first Jewish person to serve in Uganda’s Parliament, the Forward reported on Wednesday.

Sizomu, representing the government’s main opposition party, won the seat in an eight-way race on February 9 to become one of 380 members of Uganda’s Parliament.

Sizomu’s win is being contested by one of the government’s ruling party members, the Forward reports.

Sizomu ran for Parliament once before in 2011, finishing second in the Mbale District amidst allegations of election-fixing, according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency.

Voters, Sizomu says, were chased away from polling stations and rigged votes were added to ballot boxes.

Sizomu, a fourth-generation Ugandan Jew and an ordained Conservative rabbi, is a liason to the Ugandan Jewish community, called the Abayudaya, JTA says.

The Abayudaya are not recognized as Jewish by Israel nor Orthodox Jews in the Diaspora. Under an initiative headed by Sizomu, 300 Abayudaya converted to recognized Judaism in 2003.

(Staff wth agencies)