Museveni sets conditions for new Cabinet at swearing-in
The President said some members of his 81-member Cabinet were deliberately picked from the Opposition in order to “maximise political unity” in the country
Highlights. The President explains what the ministers should do quickly in order to achieve middle income status within four years as promised in his re-election manifesto.
President Museveni yesterday explained why he appointed Opposition members to his Cabinet, and set tough targets for the newly sworn-in ministers.
The President said some members of his 81-member Cabinet were deliberately picked from the Opposition in order to “maximise political unity” in the country.
He, however, tasked the likes of Uganda Federal Alliance’s Beti Kamya (Kampala minister), Uganda Peoples Congress’ Betty Amongi (Lands) and Democratic Party’s Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi (Youth) to go back to the Opposition and recruit more of their members into the ruling party.
“This Cabinet is aimed at maximising unity of the country; that’s why we brought in a few members of the Opposition,” Mr Museveni said.
“I welcome the few members of the Opposition who have joined us. Go back and bring all those people who are waiting for a messiah. The Jews have been waiting for a messiah for now 2000 years but the messiah has not come.”
Although the President is expected to give written instructions to the ministers in the first Cabinet meeting on Thursday, he highlighted what the new Cabinet should do quickly in order to achieve middle income status within four years as promised in his re-election manifesto.
In order for Uganda to become a middle-income country, Mr Museveni said, “We must aggressively look for investments” and to succeed in this areas, “there are must be no delay in decision-making.”
The President explained that the appointment of the new minister for Investment and Privatisation, Ms Evelyn Anite, whom he described as his “daughter” and one of his “incorruptible youth”, was not by accident, but was by design. He said he wanted reforms and promised to guide her in order to ensure that investments are not hindered.
“I appointed my daughter Anite to the investment docket because I know she is not corrupt,” Mr Museveni said. “I will not tolerate anybody who delays decisions on investment which can be made.”
Though the President has been accused of paying lip service to the fight against corruption, an insidious problem in the country, he listed corruption as the second issue that needs to be addressed in order to make Uganda a middle income country.
Mr Museveni said: “No corruption or conflict of interest. Somebody is in office and he or she is using it for private gain, that era is finished.”
The third issue highlighted by the President is the need to work aggressively to lower the cost of doing business in the country. He explained that investment in the road sector seeks to lower the transport costs and promised that the major projects in the new term will focus on the railway and water transport.
Strict regulation is in the fourth position. The President explained that he appointed Dr Mary Kitutu, whom he described as an expert, to the Environment docket, to ensure that issues of regulations are effectively handled. Although regulation is a wide area, the President only highlighted the need to stop environmental degradation in the country.
“Those building in wetlands must stop,” Mr Museveni said. “Everybody has eyes to see what a wetland is and what is a forest.”
The fourth condition the President gave focused on the need to invest more funds in agriculture sector through the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) programme, noting that 68 per cent of homesteads were still outside the money economy—meaning they are trapped in subsistence farming.
Highlighting the need to fix trade deficit through boosting export earnings and regulating imports, the President said: “We cannot go on with the shame of a country being a supermarket of foreign products and you call it a country.”
“Uganda must be Uganda not a supermarket of Chinese products. People are importing all sorts of things; they buy taka-taka (rubbish), including human hair, yet they can be made here in Uganda. This is a big shame.”
The President also said he set up a new ministry for Science and Innovation to nurture innovation in the country. He also tasked the new minister for ICT, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, to ensure that the country makes a computer.
“We must master electronics,” Mr Museveni said.
At least 30 Cabinet ministers and 36 state ministers took oath of allegiance and oath of office yesterday. The ministers, who were accompanied by their spouses, friends and relatives, swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and asked God to help them. They also swore to keep government secrets.
Five appointed ministers, however, did not take oath. With the exception of Gen Moses Ali (First Deputy Prime Minister) who was reported indisposed, the four state ministers (Adrian Tibaleke (Disability), Harriet Ntabazi (Industry), Ismael Orot (Works) and Ruth Acheng (Fisheries) were not cleared by the Parliament’s Appointments Committee.