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Cabinet came, for onerous duty!

By Vision Reporter

Added 21st July 2001 03:00 AM

The writer measures the national tempo on the President's team

The writer measures the national tempo on the President's team

By John Nagenda THIS of course was the week of the cabinet list. Immersed in that simple statement is a potpourri of the ensuing emotions enjoyed or suffered, as the case may be, by every single player in the drama. Your columnist was at hand, often at close quarters, to watch the ravages of expectant waiting, especially when spread over many days. Ambition for office can be a fine thing, but in the failing lie shoals of pain, and we have seen this you and I. Perhaps never more so than this week. What gluttons for punishment humans can be! Anyway when the list finally emerged, it was met by instant judgements, one of the most popular being that it was hardly very exciting. I agreed, but for excitement the movies are the place to go, or perhaps a spot of dancing. What the 21 names of the senior ministers chosen represented, as far as this observer is concerned, was a team of experienced men and women of sober aspect. What is more, they could not fail to know which road the government would travel in the next five years (less than that already!) making up the President's last term in office. Even now, in the heady days since January 1986, much has been delivered, in some ways even more than we had a right to expect. But now let's have jam on top. There is another way to put it: President Museveni said in broad daylight that he wanted his last term to put finishing touches to what he had started all those years ago in the bush. Especially, but not exclusively, with the armed forces. Who could fail to see the sense in that? Not the country, which answered with a massive yes. So your columnist can almost hear Museveni saying to his new cabinet, "I have chosen you because I have faith in you. I know your strengths (and weaknesses). Take the challenge with both hands. Don't let me down. There is no room for failure here." If that's daunting so it should be, and not before time. His team on the other hand should eagerly reply, "Give us the tools and we'll see it through." In other words, trust us enough to give us our heads to swim or sink. That is surely an eminently reasonable request, and one moreover which would lighten considerably the president's present intolerable load. But the corollary to that is if you are given responsibility and you can't "hack it", you get hacked! What an exciting prospect lies before us! As with the 'A' team so with the 'B'. A list of the 45 ministers of state makes for daunting reading. How long will it take the splendid Speaker (and his deputy) to memorise each and every name in their day to day interaction? And the Prime Minister, Leader of Government Business in the House; will his sometimes shaky memory suffice? What about the President himself? This is one of the (not very important) problems of constructing a structure to please as far as possible all the various groupings of our nation. For those who whine about the unwieldy size (including sometimes myself), try and do the opposite. Halve the government and watch the national reaction. But anybody lurking in the B team, hoping they can hide there without putting in serious effort, the result would be dire: The Door! And naturally, this being in the real world in which we live, B's might tend to disappear more swiftly than A's, even though they all belong to the same hand, each with a necessary function to carry out. Being a tiny bit of a sadist, your columnist is short of breath as he contemplates the expected arrivals and departures of the coming years. * * * There were some lighter moments of the week for your hard-working scribbler. A senior leader, perhaps thinking that his idea of retiring this time round had been noted and accepted, returned to the "bee in his bonnet" by once again giving his personal views on whether the Movement should become a party. Yawn, yawn! He said that no small group of people was going to stop him discussing this subject. Small group? I was in the conference room at Kisozi when the President said, with a certain ire, that sensible people knew to which fora to take such discussions. The President went as far as to say, "Ignore totally those who do otherwise!" In my experience, Museveni hardly says a word just for the sake of hearing his own voice. The second funny thing was finding myself in the lion's den, aka Monitor FM, rapping (as I believe his age group call it) with Mr Mwenda. To tell the truth I rather enjoyed it all, especially the thunderous applause from the workers at the station. I have never shirked from mingling with Monitor individuals; it is that paper's policy and agenda which I abhor. For example its reporting following the meetings between Presidents Museveni and Kagame. The two had agreed to bury the hatchet. Preferably, as far as The Monitor was concerned, in the neck! How else keep quoting the Rwandese government spokesman with his thinly veiled vitriol? Are they now the official mouthpiece of that funny person? Would you find a publication in Rwanda doing the same unsavoury job for Uganda? Does the Aga Khan's representative on the Board bother to read his own paper? Funny? Not a laughing matter.

Cabinet came, for onerous duty!

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