PRESIDENT Yoweri on Monday presided over the swearing-in of the newly-appointed ministers. A jovial Museveni made comments on some members of his Cabinet, adding colour to the glamorous event held at State House Entebbe. Milton Olupot captured some of the remarks
When Gen. Moses Ali finished swearing in, he walked with a swagger and saluted the Commander-in-Chief, before shaking his hand. As he walked towards his seat, Museveni smiled and said: â€œI do not want to incite UPC against Moses Ali, but he is used to making coups against them. So they should be careful,â€ attracting a thunderous laughter from the audience.
Moses Ali, the 3rd Deputy Premier and deputy leader of government business, took part in all the rebellions that brought down the UPC governments in 1971 and 1985.
With a broad smile, Museveni watched the new microfinance state minister, Caroline Amali Okao, take oath. After shaking hands with her, he said: â€œMy daughter here advised me to give micro-finance to malwa (local millet brew) groups and I will not forget that. It did miracles in Amolatar (Amaliâ€™s constituency).
At the beginning of the function, the head of public service announced that when a ministerâ€™s name is called out, relatives accompanying him could stand up for recognition. When Janet Museveniâ€™s name was read, nobody stood up. A concerned Museveni then called out: â€œYou ladies stand up and support your mother.â€ His daughters, Natasha and Patience, then stood up in the middle of the audience, which joined them in clapping for the First Lady.
The Commander-in-Chief probably has confidence in the new Minister of Education and Sports, Lt. Jessica Alupo, but views the rank of lieutenant probably too low for the retired soldier.
After shaking hands with Alupo, Museveni said: â€œI think this lieutenant has to go for a commanderâ€™s course so that she can at least be promoted to a Major.â€
After Eng. Abraham Byandala, the man who has replaced the long-serving works and transport minister, Eng. John Nasasira, had sworn-in, Museveni said: â€œThe Monitor wrote that from Nasasira to Byandala means more potholes. So Byandala has to work harder.â€
Henry Banyenzaki, a known critic of the Government and his NRM party, caused laughter when, as he headed for the podium, he shouted: â€œThank you your Excellency for appointing me to this office.â€ Museveni retorted: â€œI will have to defend myself in talkshows. I hear people are saying, how could the President appoint Banyenzaki?â€
Right after Banyenzaki was the Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo, the state minister for Ethics and Integrity. As Lokodo stood up to take oath, a lady, who appeared to have accompanied him, stood up. Museveni then said: â€œFr. Lokodo you have to clarify to the press that the lady who was standing there is a sister (nun),â€ drawing laughter from the crowd.
Museveni described Vincent Nyanzi, the Minister of State in the Vice-Presidentâ€™s Office, as one of the most uncompromising NRM cadres in Uganda.
To Rebecca Amuge Otengo, the Minister of State for Northern Uganda, the President said: â€œWhen you translate for the President many times, you have advantages. When I go to Lira, she translates for me.â€
Otengo crossed from being an Independent to the NRM in the last elections and accompanied Museveni to campaigns across the country.
When Barbara Nekesa Oundo, the state minister for Karamoja swore-in, Museveni said: â€œWe, the grandfathers, donâ€™t have to fear these children, let them also come and see what is here.â€ Museveni then asked her how old she was when the NRM Government took power in 1986, to which she responded that she was aged two.
On Charles Bakabulindi, the state minister for sports, the President said: â€œThis minister brought us some good luck,â€ referring to the performance of the national football team, the Cranes.
Museveni sighted the towering sons of Peter Lokeris, (state for Mineral Development) who stood behind the audience as their father took oath. â€œI hope the Police are aware of some warriors behind there,â€ he said of the men, one of them dressed in Karimojong traditional style.
Lokeris said: â€œYour Excellency, one of those two warriors is an Aeronautic engineer and the other is his worship (magistrate). Museveni called them forward, shook their hands and exchanged pleasantries.
When Ronald Kibuule (state for youth and children) finished swearing in, Museveni said the youngest minister, at 28, had been supporting him from Primary Four. â€œI always found him at the roadside in Mukono,â€ he said.
Museveni also called Sam Engolaâ€™s family to the front and shook hands with them. He said Engola (state for housing) was one of his strong cadres in northern Uganda.
He described Justine Kasule Lumumba (urban development) as â€œa very well behaved woman.â€
For Agnes Akiror, (state for tourism) Museveni said: â€œThis is my daughter from Teso. She disorganised FDC in that area.â€
On Alex Onzima (state for local government), another defector from FDC, Museveni said: â€œOnzima headed the West Nile Elect Museveni Task force. While still in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), he used to wear yellow and when challenged by FDC, he would say it was the Popeâ€™s colour.â€
Museveni jokes light up swearing-in