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Destiny Can Be Delayed, Not Denied: The Story of Minister Sarah Kanyike

"From Netballer to Minister"

By Steven Enatu




The State Minister for the Elderly and Disability like many successful people has a story to tell.


Hajjat Sarah Kanyike revealed her journey to success to vulnerable children with Disability at St Francis Rehabilitation Center in Soroti City last week.


Kanyike who was encouraging the young vulnerable children to be focused on everything that they do in life, used herself as an example.


“Always be focused, know what you want and the sky will be the limit. Above all put God first. Disability is not inability,” she said.


Drawing an example of herself who rose from a simple background, Kanyike said she was at Kibuli demonstration Primary School from p.1 to p.7 where she got first grade in PLE with a dream to go to Kibuli Secondary school. This dream was however short lived as her single mother couldn’t afford school fees charged at Kibuli S.S.


“My dad died when I was in P.2 and my mother had a very big family she was taking care of and so couldn’t pay my school fees at Kibuli,” she said.


Kanyike said that during their times, admission letters were brought home and she had been admitted at Kibuli secondary school.


“My mother couldn’t pay school fees there and she told me to look for a good day school, I went to old Kampala secondary school for senior one and it was one of the best schools in Kampala by then,” she said.


However, just like the saying goes; “Destiny can be delayed but never denied” Kanyike’s talent in netball took her to her dream school.


“One day our school old Kampala was playing against Kibuli SS in a netball match, I was a goal shooter, I scored goals that I couldn’t also believe. It was during my senior one 2nd term,” she said.


The match had both the head teacher and the coach of Kibuli SS in attendance.


“That game was a destiny changer, beating kibuli secondary school by then was a tag of war but God made it for me and as a result I was taken to Kibuli from senior 1 second term to senior 6 studying on netball scholarship,” she narrated.


While at old Kampala, Kanyike was staying in Kibuli but could commute on foot via Kibuli secondary school.


“Whenever I passedby Kibuli SS by then, I could pose wondering “wow, God… this was my dream school but I didn’t make it here, can it happen again..?”


Just like many other children from simple families, money wasn’t there for her to travel in a taxi to old Kampala school.


While at Kibuli Secondary School, Kanyike excelled at sports and made a good impression as a sports’ prefect helping the school win a number of trophies in netball and volleyball. She however balanced books and sports.


“This gave me an opportunity to explore my talent as well as excel in class,” she said.


At Kibuli she sat her UACE exams and excelled.


“I was able to do law or any other professional course apart from sciences but I enrolled in Education. I decided to go on and do Education as my profession so that I could offer my service to this country because I studied on people’s money,” she said.


After graduating from Makerere University with a Bachelor’s degree in Education she returned to teach for 20 years at Kibuli SS.


Her Biography


The mother of six, two of whom are adopted, was born in Kibuli, Kampala to the late Yusuf Kanyike and Hasifah Nabwami. At two years, she lost her father and only grew up knowing her mother.


Sarah Kanyike quit her teaching job to join politics in 1998. From then she has since contested five times winning at least in three elections.


Kanyike successfully contested the Makindye East Woman councilor seat that she went on to represent up to 2006 and served as deputy speaker of KCC during Mayor John Ssebana Kizito reign.



In 2006, Kanyike stood for the Makindye East MP seat but lost to Michael Mabikke, before losing again to John Simbwa in 2011.


During the 2011 to 2016 political season, Sarah Kanyike served as the Personal Assistant to Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago. She also represented Makindye East in the KCCA Council from 2011 to 2016.


In June 2020, President Yoweri Museveni nominated Sarah Kanyike as the Director of gender at KCCA.


Erias Lukwago, the Kampala Lord Mayor gave her three days to make up her mind; either take up the State appointment or stay as Deputy Lord Mayor. Kanyike chose to resign as Deputy Lord Mayor and Lukwago appointed Doreen Nyanjura as her replacement.


On 24 July 2020, the President re-directed that Kanyike be appointed to the cabinet docket of State Minister for the Elderly and Disability, which had been vacant.

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