Cabinet: Has Museveni given up on Buganda?

Friday June 11 2021
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Clockwise: Dropped: Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi (Vice President), Dropped: Rosemary Seninde (State minister for Primary Education), Dropped: Amelia Kyambadde (Trade minister), Reshuffled: Vicent Ssempijja (minister of Defence), Appointed: Ruth Nankabirwa (minister of Energy), Retained: Gen Katumba Wamala, )Works and Transport minister)

By Elizabeth Kamurungi

In the new Cabinet list released on June 8, the central region has lost more than five top ministerial positions, including the vice presidency.

The most populous region that overwhelmingly voted against the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party in the recently concluded presidential and parliamentary elections lost the vice presidency slot to Teso Sub-region.

After voting National Unity Platform’s Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, in the January polls, Buganda has now had changes in six key Cabinet slots and six state ministerial positions. The most populous region is currently not represented anywhere in the top 10 positions of leadership in the country.

Overall, the total number of ministers from Buganda region has reduced from 18 to 15 (seven Cabinet positions and 8 ministers of state) in an 80-member Cabinet.

In the designate Cabinet, President Museveni has taken away the vice presidency, which has been a preserve for central region for nearly  25 years. Other key positions lost include Foreign Affairs, Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Government Chief Whip and Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. The positions for ministers of state lost include Youth and Children Affairs, Primary Education, and Tourism, among others.

Buganda has, however, retained the positions of Works and Transport, Lands, Housing and Urban Development, and Public Service and gained the positions of full ministers of Energy and Mineral Development, Defence, and KCCA and Metropolitan Affairs as well as the position of the Attorney General.

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In return, it got ministers of Energy,  Defence, Kampala, State for Planning,  State for ICT,  State for Health and State for Lands.

Whereas analysts say this could be attributed to the voting patterns of the January elections, others say the President cannot give up on courting Buganda because of its strategic position in the politics of the country.

Dr Gerald Karyeija, an associate professor of Public Affairs and Management at Uganda Management Institute, says the position of Vice President is not constitutionally designated for the central region.

According to Dr Karyeija, the region is very well represented in Cabinet.

“In principle, much as candidates from Buganda have been occupying that position, it is not designated for Buganda although it has been dominated by Buganda male Catholics, and it has been a pattern and people had taken it for granted, but principally, I do not think Museveni or NRM has designated it for them,” he said.


What expert says

According to Dr Karyeija, the President uses this position to respond to a constituency or category of people that he thinks needs to be promoted to such level of prominence in an attempt to balance his appointments.

“Cabinet largely is about reward for political dividends and political support and mobilisation for the next election. What comes at face value is the recent performance of NRM in the region compared to previous time, but we notice an increase in the dominance of women, which may tell that he is increasing his faith and strength in having women in the lead given their performance in other sectors,” he added.

He added: “He [Museveni] cannot give up on Buganda, he is just trying out unconventional means of how to regain popularity, and it is so central to Uganda’s politics that he cannot abandon it.”


Miss out in top 10

Mr Godfrey Kiwanda, the former minister of State for Tourism and NRM vice chairperson for central region, said it is unfortunate that they are not represented in the top 10 positions of leadership in the country.

“I would have loved my region to reflect, but the appointing authority used his discretion. You need a lot to balance the central region because it is much neglected region,” Mr Kiwanda said in an interview last evening.

He, however, said he cannot say this was based on the performance of the NRM in the January elections, and that would be a wrong parameter to determine appointments.

“That [reason] has to come from him [Museveni]. We still have a lot of work to do  but the previous support given to the NRM cannot be taken for granted., We have areas such as Rukungiri and Teso where NRM nearly failed to get 20 per cent in other elections. I do not believe NRM can neglect Buganda, that is not possible, we just have to work on things that made the people vote the way they did and also NRM need to do a reconciliation and see how best we can work to bring back that popularity,” Mr Kiwanda said.

GAINED POSTS        


RETAINED POSTS


 LOST POSITIONS


Minister of Energy


Minister of Works


Vice President


Minister of Defence


Minister of Public Service


Chief Whip


Attorney General


Minister of Lands


Minister of Trade


Minister of Kampala


State, Microfinance


Minister of ICT


State minister for Planning


State, Water


Minister of Foreign Affairs


State minister for ICT


State, Kampala


Minister of Agriculture


State minister for Health


State for Higher education


State, Youth And Children Affairs


State minister for Lands


State, Elderly And Disability Affairs


State,Transport


State, Primary Education


State, Tourism


State, Luweero  Triangle



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