Report: Ugandan rabbi makes history with Parliament victory


(JTA)Ugandan Rabbi Gershom Sizomu reportedly won a hotly contested seat in the country’s Parliament.

With his victory in an eight-way race on Feb. 19, Sizomu, who ran with main the opposition party, becomes the first Jewish person to serve in the Ugandan Parliament, the Forward reported Wednesday.

One of Sizomu’s ruling party opponents is contesting the vote, according to the Forward. There are 380 lawmakers in Uganda’s Parliament.

Sizomu ministers to Uganda’s native Jewish community, called the Abayudaya, 300 of whom converted to Judaism in 2003 under his initiative. Israel and Orthodox Jews in the Diaspora do not recognize the Abayudaya as Jewish.

A fourth-generation Ugandan Jew, Sizomu is an ordained Conservative rabbi.

In his first bid for Parliament in 2011, Sizomu finished second in the Mbale District. He contested the results, saying the election was fixed. The rabbi said his supporters from the opposition Forum for Democratic Change Party were chased away from more than eight polling stations and ballot boxes were stuffed with ballots that had been filled out.

As of Wednesday, Sizomu’s Gershom Sizomu for Parliament Facebook page had not been updated to reflect his victory.

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