By John Agaba
Former minister for the Presidency Dr. Beatrice Wabudeya is the new presidential awards committee chairperson.
The committee selects nationals who have offered diligent services to the country for recognition.
Wabudeya replaces Prof. Mondo Kagonyera who has chaired the committee for the past five years.
Other members of the committee are; Chris Kassami, Thecla Kinalwa, Ocaya Lakidi, John Karazarwe, Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho, Dr. Jesudas Mwanje and Prof. Lawrence Mukiibi.
At the inauguration of the new committee in Kampala on Thursday, Wabudeya thanked President Yoweri Museveni for selecting her as head of a very important committee.
Presiding over the ceremony, minister for the Presidency, Frank Tumwebaze, asked the new committee to also consider ordinary Ugandans who have contributed to the development of the country for the awards.
“You should show the relevance of these medals to every Ugandan,” the minister advised the committee.
“It may be a prison warder who has served the country the longest. It may be a farmer who is doing good work; or a traditional birth attendant who has helped many women give birth,” he said.
He, however, challenged them to only select excellence, lest the awards will lose meaning. “It should not be about someone’s age, but what they have done for the country.”
Tumwebaze said since the inception of recognizing persons who have contributed the most for Uganda, over 12,177 individuals have been honored, including Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Kagonyera refuted claims his committee had been selecting individuals for the presidential awards unnecessarily, saying they had a backlog to deal with when they were instituted.
“There were very many people who qualified and really deserved the awards. I am sure in future there will be few awardees,” he said.
“Very few people understand the importance of these awards. But they are really important. They are a way of recognizing those individuals who have served the country very well,” he said.