People & Power

Where is NRM’s first Cabinet?

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John Ntimba

John Ntimba 

By Henry Lubega

Posted  Sunday, January 26  2014 at  02:00

In Summary

Flashback. On January 29, 1986 Yoweri Kaguta Museveni took the oath of office as Uganda’s 9th president, with a promise of “not a mere change of guard but a fundamental change” soon after, he swore in a Cabinet of 48 ministers and 28 years later, Sunday Monitor’s Henry Lubega traces the Cabinet.

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Twenty-eight years down the road, Museveni’s Cabinet has grown from 48 to 79 members. Some of the original members have since passed on and they include Eriya Kategeya, Chango Macho, James Wapakhabulo, Justice Joseph Mulenga, Balaki Kirya, Dr Samson Kiseka, Dr Ronald Bata, Dr Andrew Kayira, Prof Ponsiano Mulema, Abu Mayanja, Kafumbe Mukasa,Y afesi Sabiti, Prof Yoweri Kyesimira, Robert Ekinu, David Serwano Kigozi, David Kibirango, Sam Kalega Njuba, Dr Zac Kaheru, and Evaristo Nyanzi.

Whereas some have been in the Cabinet since then, there are those that have left and bounced back. And there are those that have also fallen out with the establishment.

DR PAUL SSEMWOGERERE
The former Democratic Party president served first as the internal Affairs minister before moving on to foreign affairs in the NRM government. After eight years in the NRM government, Ssemwogerere resigned and went on to contest for the presidency in the 1996 General Election. He relinquished the party leadership and retired to private life though still an active member of the party’s leadership.

2.Dr Ruhakana Rugunda
He is one of the four surviving members of the first Cabinet who are still serving. A medical doctor, Ruganda served as a health minister in the 1986 Cabinet. He served in different ministries before being appointed the government’s chief negotiator with the LRA during the peace talks in Juba. He went on to become Uganda’s top diplomat when Uganda held the UN security council rotational chair. From the UN post Ruganda bounced back to cabinet as the internal affair’s minister first before going back to health where he started from in 1986.

3. Prof Shem Masaba
Prof Chemangey, a zoology professor, was the minister of veterinary and animal industries; he served for only a year,leaving the Cabinet in 1987. Within that one year, he criticised his fellow ministers when on the floor of Parliament he said “all ministers must be corrupt because they all lived a good life, which could not be financed from their official salary”. Political observers believe his earlier stand and openness to corruption could have been the cause for his early exit. He taught at Makerere before retiring to private work; including opening a secondary school in Kaphorwa District.

4. Prof edward Kakonge
He was the Local Government minister in 1986. It was during his reign that the decentralisation policy was muted under his stewardship at the ministry. In 1989, like the rest of the cabinet ministers, he went to contest for the Constituent Assembly election but he lost. Prof Kakonge went back to teach at Makerere University. Currently Kakonge is the chairman of UPC.

5. Col kizza Besigye
He started as the deputy minister for internal affairs and national political commissar in 1986. Fourteen years later in 2000 he fell out with his commander in chief, and shortly after declared his intention to stand for the high office. He went on to form a political pressure group - Reform Agenda - which gave birth to Forum for Democratic Change. Dr Besigye, a doctor, first challenged Museveni in the 2001 general election before fleeing into exile. He returned in October 2005 before the 2006 General Election. Since then he has been a victim of police crackdown on dissenting voices.

6. Cpt. Gertrude Njuba
She was a deputy minister of relief and social rehabilitation but she did not serve in the cabinet for long. Capt Njuba went on to become a presidential advisor on political affairs before getting involved in the Serulanda Spiritual Foundation as one of the directors. She is one of the few female historical members of the NRM. Currently Gertrude Njuda heads the land directorate in the office of the President.

7. Israel Kayonde
The Movement’s first commerce minister has left politics although still a member of the NRM. As one of the historicals, he was a member of the first NRC that formed the legislature before its expansion in 1989. After active politics Kayonde retired into private business dealing mainly in printery.

8. Robert Kitariko
He served as the agriculture minister in the first cabinet. Though he lives a largely private life, he served as a commissioner at the Electoral Commission during the 2001 General Election, before being relieved of his duties in 2003.

9.Sebana Kizito
The former Democratic Party leader and presidential aspirant was the first Regional Affairs minister in the NRM government. He went on to serve in different posts as minister including Cooperatives and Marketing. He later became mayor of Kampala before vying for the presidency in the 2006 General Election. After the failed presidential bid in 2006 Sebana retired from party leadership although he remained in the party.

10. Amanya Mushega
Museveni’s first deputy defense minister served in different capacities as a minister before leaving the local political scene to become the first Secretary General of the revived East African Community in Arusha. Upon the expiry of his term, Mushega rejoined active politics as a member of the biggest opposition party in the country, FDC. He has resisted the temptation of standing for any elective post since then.

11. Kahinda otafiire
He started as the deputy minister for local government and went on to serve in different ministries, before going on a sort of sabbatical leave from politics when he offered to resign after drawing a pistol on a wife of one for the fellow ministers at Fairway Hotel. After a few years in the political wilderness he bounced back into cabinet and he is currently the minister for constitutional affairs.

12. Mayanja Nkangi
Nkagi first served as minister of education in the 1986 cabinet, before going on to serve in different ministries including that of finance. When he left cabinet, he was appointed the chairman of the land Commission where he served for 10 years.

13. Kirunda Kivejinja
The first minister of relief and social rehabilitation is a historical member of the NRM. During his tenure as the transport minister Kivejinja resigned from government when he was faced with a possibility of being censured by Parliament on allegations that he was responsible for the loss of thousands of litres of fuel from the former Uganda Railways. He went on to work as a director at the Movement secretariat before bouncing back as a minister for the presidency. Currently he is out of active politics but remains a senior member of the NRM political party.

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