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Uganda’s finance ministers since independence

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th June 2011 03:00 AM

Today, newly appointed finance minister Maria Kiwanuka presents the budget to Parliament for the 2011/12 financial year. She will perform the duty on behalf of the President.

Today, newly appointed finance minister Maria Kiwanuka presents the budget to Parliament for the 2011/12 financial year. She will perform the duty on behalf of the President.

By Joseph Kizza

Today, newly appointed finance minister Maria Kiwanuka presents the budget to Parliament for the 2011/12 financial year. She will perform the duty on behalf of the President.

Kiwanuka took over office from Syda Bumba, who is currently the minister of gender, labor and social development.

Uganda has had 14 finance ministers serve under the different regimes in its 48 years as an independent state. Two of these are female, constituting 18 per cent of the number and the rest are male.

In 1961, as Uganda crept closer to its independence, Mayanja Kyompitira Sebalu entered record books as the first finance minister of the country.

He worked under Benedict Kiwanuka, the then Prime Minister of Uganda.
When the new council of ministers was announced in April the same year, C.G.F.F. Melmoth, a British administrator, was appointed the finance minister.

Under the council, the post was referred to as the financial secretary.
Melmoth was later replaced by A.K. Sempa when Apollo Milton Obote became Uganda’s Premier under Sir Edward Muteesa II in 1962.

However, Obote’s Cabinet of 1968 when he took over the presidency had no post of minister of finance.

The position was later restored when Major- General Idi Amin Dada ousted his boss Obote from power in 1971. Under this maiden military rule of Uganda, Emmanuel Bwayo Wakhweya worked as Amin’s finance minister.

Uganda was later in 1972 hit by what was reported as its worst economic crisis—there was total collapse of the social and economic infrastructural systems.

In 1977, when military stalwart Field Marshall Amin continued to cling onto power, he appointed Brigadier Moses Ali the minister of finance as Wakhweya’s replacement. Ali served in this position until Amin was overthrown in 1979.

Reminiscent of Obote’s 1968 Cabinet, Yusuf Kironde Lule’s Cabinet of 1979 also lacked the ministerial post of finance. It was not until the Military Commission of 1980 had assumed power that the post resurfaced.

The Commission, chaired by Paulo Muwanga and current President Yoweri Museveni as his vice, appointed Lawrence Sebalu the minister of Finance.

However, Sebalu’s term in office was short-lived when Obote regained control of Uganda for the second time in 1980. He appointed himself the finance minister.

Now with Kiwanuka in control, Museveni has worked with seven finance ministers in his 25 solid years in-charge of Uganda.

When he won the guerrilla war in 1986, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) leader chose Prof. Ponciano Mulema to work on the finances of the state.

Mulema worked for a short time in the ministry and was in the same year replaced by Dr. Crispus Kiyonga.
Kiyonga, currently the minister of defence, was finance minister for six years. As finance minister, he is credited with the establishment of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

In 1992, Jehoash Mayanja Nkangi became minister of finance, planning and economic development until 1998. Mayanja was replaced by Democratic Party’s Gerald Ssendaula.

At the beginning of 1998, Ssendaula was appointed finance minister, a position he held until his retirement in 2005. The continuity of the position saw economist and banker Dr. Ezra Suruma takes over office from Ssendaula in 2005 as finance minister.

When Suruma was transferred to the position of senior presidential adviser on finance and economic affairs in 2009, Syda Bbumba replaced him to become Uganda’s first female minister of finance.

In the new Cabinet, Bumba was swirled back into her former position as minister of gender, to be substituted with another female, Maria Kiwanuka in the finance ministry.




Uganda’s finance ministers since independence

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