By Vision Reporters
Embattled minister for Presidency Kabakumba Masiko has officially tendered in her resignation letter to the President.
She announced her resignation at news conference at Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.
Speaking to the press, Kabakumba said she has decided to step down to show a sign of political responsibility.
Kabakumba, who read a statement to reporters did not entertain any questions from them. She immediately left the Members Longue after the address. She however, remains an MP.
“I have enjoyed every moment of my service to my nation always mindful that I should not let down the trust bestowed on me by the President and people of Uganda. However to err is human. Even when we still begrudge the manner in which justice may have been exercised to its logical limit, it’s my humble patriotic duty and in the interest of democracy, my party NRM and indeed my biological family, I will for now give way to allow smooth and unfettered consideration of the controversy in which I find myself in. I therefore resign my current responsibility of Minister in Charge of the Presidency and Kampala Capital Authority with effect from December 14,” Kabakumba said.
L-R: Kabakumba's husband, Lt. Col. Henry Masiko, Kabakumba Masiko and MP David Bahati at the press conference where she announced her resignation. PHOTO: Roger Okwany
Her resignation comes after intense pressure mounted on her in a Monday meeting at State House by both the Cabinet and NRM to vacate her seat.
The Bujenje County MP is accused of using a transmitter and other broadcasting equipment belonging to Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), the public broadcaster, without paying for them. This happened while she was still information and national guidance minister.
Police recovered a stolen UBC transmitter from her radio station, Kings Broadcasting Services in Masindi district.
Who is Kabakumba?
When she stood before parliament a few weeks ago and denied allegations that she had stolen a Uganda Broadcasting mast and a transmitter, Princess Kabakumba Matsiko Labwoni cut the figure of a seasoned fighter.
Her face twitched with rage and her voice rang out-above the shouts and jeers from ‘honorable’ members.
She once again exhibited her straight, natural talking abilities peacock like pride- that has seen her gain admiration and hate in equal measure. With a never say die mask covering her face, she looked straight into the eyes of many MPs and told them-“I am not a thief,’ and to those who did not want to listen, she termed them as ‘Squabbles that are anti-developmental.’
Unfortunately, this was not a fierce defense for improving the lives of women or in defense of constructing a tarmac road from Masindi to Buliisa so that her people earned more from their sweat. It was a fierce defense against allegations of theft and abuse of office. A day earlier, the Princess had been ridiculed by fellow MPs before the media.
L-R: Kabakumba's husband, Lt. Col. Henry Masiko, Kabakumba Masiko and MP David Bahati at the press conference where she announced her resignation PHOTO: Roger Okwany
Muhamed Nsereko (Kampala Central) had this to say: “When I sit near Kabakumba now, I am even afraid that she will steal my phone. I have to hide it away,” Nsereko said. Even some women MPs called her ‘A shame to womanhood’. The Princess from Bunyoro is in the news for the ugly reasons!
A humble beginning
The now tough but embattled Kabakumba Matsiko was born in Ikoba village, Masindi District on 20 October 1966, to Kosiya Kahubire Labwoni, a known Christian in Masindi and member of the Bunyoro royal lineage.
This means that she is clocking 45 years. In 1983 when NRA fighters were fighting Obote`s regime in Luwero, she was doing her O-levels at Gulu High. While they were capturing power in 1986, she was doing her A-levels at Nabisunsa Girls.
Kabakumba Masiko holds a of Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Economics from Makerere University. This is however in addition to several other Diplomas, including Diploma in Legislative Drafting, Diploma in Project Planning and Management and a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Administration and Management.
She is serving as the Minister of the Presidency, having replaced Beatrice Wabudeya who was dropped from the cabinet in mid this year. In that capacity, she also serves as Minister for Kampala Capital City Authority.
She is also the elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Bujenje County, Masindi District.
Kabakumba has been a ‘yellow’ girl for all her political life. ‘Yellow girls’ is the terminology for women politicians who can ‘lose a leg’ for NRM.
The others in her class include MPs like Mary Karooro Okurut, Anifa Kawooya, Dorothy Hyuha, Hope Mwesigye etc. It was because of this overwhelming devotion that she was ‘seen’ by the appointing authority and appointed to cabinet.
In 1996, while aged 30 years, she ran for the parliamentary seat for Masindi District, winning it and serving in that position until 2001.
In 2001, following redistricting, she ran for the seat of Bujenje County, in Masindi District, winning it and serving as area MP until 2006. In 2006, she was re-elected to the Ugandan Parliament.
That same year she was appointed Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Government Chief Whip, a position she served in until her appointment to the information ministry in February 2009.
In her work experience, she is described by both members of her party, NRM and the opposition as a very straight but ‘cocky’ talker, one who has employed her good public speaking skills to her advantage.
“She likes to dominate and I think that is in her nature. She has a gun ready to explode anytime against those who try to tackle her,” an MP said. Some opposition MPs, including Salaamu Musumba described her as an ‘NRM extremist’ whose love for the party erases judgment at times.
According to a leading NRM protégé who has worked with the princess, she is the kind of person that no matter what leaves two different trails when she passes by. One of the trails is as smooth as the newly tarmacked Kafu-Masindi road while the other is as battered as Masindi-Buliisa road. “She makes some people happy and she makes others want to lynch her for her actions,” the NRM supporter said.
For the people of Bunyoro and Bujenje in particular, she promised to bring them development. And one of the ways she planned to do it was through starting a radio station to improve communication. “Communication is the key to development,” she said in 2006. She also employed experienced former UBC newsreader Harison Magezi Busiinge to manage the station.
Years later, it is this station, the darling of the Banyoro that has put her in swingy ropes. The allegation goes that while she was the line Minister of Information, she ‘influenced’ the using of UBC equipment including a transmitter and mast by Kings Broadcasting, her radio station.
Of course Kabakumba denies any wrong doing, but of course the allegations may lead to her down fall. By press time, the Cabinet had recommended her resignation.
Kabakumba Masiko is married to Colonel Henry Masiko, an officer in the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), who for many years was deployed as the in charge of National Leadership Institute, Kyankwanzi, but he is now deployed in the President`s office.