President Yoweri Museveni has for the first time explained how he finally arrived at his 80-member-strong cabinet. Museveni used the swearing-in ceremony of ministers yesterday at State House, Entebbe by noting that he appointed members of the opposition to his cabinet for purposes of unity.
A total of 76 ministers were sworn after four of the nominees Adriane Tibaleka, Harriet Ntabazi and Ismeal Orot were rejected by parliament’s appointments committee and UPC’s Joy Ruth Aceng’s name was withdrawn at the last minute.
In the cabinet, Museveni appointed opposition leaders Beti Kamya (President of Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA) minister for Kampala, UPC’s Betty Amongi as minister for lands, housing and urban development and DP’s Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi as minister of state for youth and children affairs.
“That is why we have brought in a few people in the opposition. So, we welcome all those who have joined us, you can bring those who are still there,” Museveni said.
On the appointment of Sam Cheptoris as cabinet minister for Water and Environment, the president said he was responding to demands from the people of Kapchorwa and Sebei in general, who for long had complained that they don’t have a cabinet minister. “The people of Kapchorwa were always complaining. Now you have a full cabinet minister,” he said.
Meanwhile, Museveni said the appointment of Herbert Kabafunzaki as minister of state for labour, employment and industrial relations was a reward for defeating FDC’s Jack Sabiti in Rukiga constituency. “This young man helped to liberate Rukiga that had been colonialized by Jack Sabiti and other people,” Museveni said.
The president also explained why he appointed Obiga Kania as minister of state for internal affairs for breaking the dominance of FDC’s Kassiano Wadri in Terego constituency.
For Denis Ssozi Galabuzi, the minister of state for Luweero triangle, it was payback for what his father did during the NRA bush war. “The father of this boy is the one who used to send me sugar when I was in the bush. So, the children of the NRM have grown up, those who have been playing with us should be careful,” he said.
Galabuzi trounced former vice president, Prof Gilbert Bukenya for Busiro North seat. For David Karubanga, the minister of state for Public Service, it was recognition of ethnicity. The president said he appointed Karubanga to take care of the Bagungu sub-tribe among the Banyoro. Karubanga is MP for Kigorobya constituency in Hoima district.
On the other hand, Museveni said he chose merit in some instances such as Mary Kitutu the minister of state for environment. “I was looking for a lady who understands environment,” he said.
Museveni said he expects his new cabinet to take Uganda to a middle-income status by 2020. The president also promised to give the cabinet new ministerial instructions in the Thursday meeting, but expects them to aggressively look for investment, and take decisions without delay.