By Henry Mukasa
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni last night named his Cabinet, ending weeks of speculation and anxiety across the nation. Museveni, who commenced his fourth term on May 12, handed most of the key ministries to women.
The President named 75 ministers and said one would be named later, making a total of 76. He made surprise inclusions in the Executive, retained some old faces and introduced a number of professionals.
Of the 29 full ministerial posts, 19 went to men while women took 10. Among the 46 ministers of state, 12 are women. Beatrice Wabudeya, who the President recently appointed as minister for Kampala, was not on the list.
While the President in the past assigned portfolios to the ministers only after vetting by the Parliamentary Appointments Committee, this time he attached a ministry to each name before submitting it to Parliament.
Earlier, Museveni named Edward Ssekandi as Vice-President and Amama Mbabazi as Prime Minister. The two were approved by Parliament this week.
The First Lady, Janet Kataha Museveni, now becomes the full minister for Karamoja. She will be deputised by youthful Barbara Nekesa Oundo, the Busia Woman MP.
Newcomer Christine Androa takes health. Radio One proprietor Maria Kiwanuka takes the powerful Ministry of Finance from Syda Bbumba, who moves to Gender. Other women in full ministerial posts are Amelia Kyambadde (Trade), Jessica Alupo (Education), Irene Muloni (Energy) and Mary Karooro Okurut (Information), taking over from Kabakumba Masiko, who now moves to the presidency ministry.
Kyambadde was for many years the principal private secretary to the president. She joined elective politics last year and won the parliamentary seat for Mawokota North. Alupo, the Amuria Woman MP, has been youth affairs minister.
Karooro Okurut, the Bushenyi woman MP, was once the press secretary to the President.
The President retained Eriya Kategaya as first deputy premier and East Africa affairs minister. Henry Kajura also remains second deputy Primer and public affairs minister.
Moses Ali, who was dropped in 2006 after losing his Moyo East seat, bounced back as third deputy Prime Minister and deputy Leader of Government Business in Parliament. Muruli Mukasa, who also lost his Cabinet post when he lost his Nakasongola MP seat, has regained his portfolio of security minister, replacing Amama Mbabazi. Muruli is the MP for the recently created Budebo constituency.
Former Attorney General Edward Khiddu Makubuya is now minister for General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister, while Bufumbira South MP Tress Bucyanayandi is agriculture minister.
Dr. Crispus Kiyonga was retained as minister of Defence just like Sam Kutesa keeps Foreign Affairs. Adolf Mwesige, too, keeps Local Government.
However, Dr Stephen Mallinga moves from Health to Disaster Preparedness. Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, formerly in Trade, moves to Justice. Former Government Chief Whip Daudi Migereko goes to Lands, while Maria Mutagamba remains in Water and Environment.
New entrants include former city engineer Abraham Byandaala (Works), Nakasongola MP Peter Nyombi (Attorney General) and former Kampala mayor Nasser Sebaggala (without portfolio).
Reacting to his appointment, Sebaggala said: â€œMany times people have written me off but I have emerged victorious. When I had problems in the US people said I had been finished, but I came back triumphantly. When we went for the DP delegatesâ€™ conference people said my political career was finished. When I joined Museveni, they said I had no value to add to NRM, but I have bounced back in a bigger way, because Museveni knows what my contribution was.â€
Hillary Onek moves from Energy to replace Kirunda Kivejinja in Internal Affairs. Ephraim Kamuntu moves from Planning to Tourism, replacing Serapio Rukundo. Dr Ruhakana Rugunda takes ICT from Aggrey Awori. Rugunda has been Ugandaâ€™s representative to the UN Security Council.
Long-term serving minister of Works and Transport, Eng. John Nasasira, becomes Government Chief Whip.
The new ministers of state include education investor Dr J.C Muyingo (Higher Education), Rubanda West MP Henry Banyenzaki (Economic Monitoring), Rebecca Otengo (Northern Uganda), Rose Namayanja (Luweero), Christine Aporu (Teso) and Saleh Kamba (Bunyoro).
Zerubabel Nyiira, the Buruli county MP, is minister of state for agriculture, while businessman and Bukoto South MP Muyanja Mbabali takes Investments. Amolatar woman MP Amali Okao Caroline is minister for microfinance.
Ronald Kibuule, the former aide to Mbabazi, is the minister for Youth, while northern Uganda NRM Vice chairperson Sam Engola is state minister for Housing. Bugiri MP Justine Kasule Lumumba, who until recently was a commissioner in Parliament, takes over urban development, while Mbale Municipality two-time loser James Mutende is minister for industry.
Former Kumi woman MP, Agnes Akiror who crossed to NRM from FDC, goes to Tourism, while Tororo woman MP Sarah Opendi takes Lands. Betty Bigombe, who once went to the bush without escorts to convince LRA chief Joseph Kony to quit fighting, becomes the state minister for water. Flavia Munaaba, a new entrant to Parliament, takes Environment.
Dr Steven Chebrot, former health minister, returns as minister of state for transport.