President Museveni on Tuesday released his Cabinet list, appointing five new ministers from Busoga Sub-region, including former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, who was named First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Affairs.
Other appointments from the sub-region include Ms Rukia Nakadama (Third Deputy Prime Minister and Minister without Portfolio), Ms Mariam Doka Babalanda (Office of the President), Ms Justine Kasule Lumumba (General Duties in OPM) and Mr Fred Kyakulaga Bwino (State, Agriculture).
While the region celebrates the appointments, it has now been established that Ms Kadaga was on the verge of turning down Mr Museveni’s appointment until a three-man delegation from Busoga met her at her home in Muyenga, a Kampala suburb, on Wednesday.
The delegation included Mr Brandon Alex Kintu, the Kagoma North MP; Mr Ibrahim Kyoto Muruli, the Budiope West MP; and, Mr Mula Anthony, the chief executive officer of Busoga Consortium, an association that brings together MPs and local leaders to plan for the sub-region.
“The woman (Kadaga) was planning to reject the appointment, but that team went to her early in the morning on Wednesday and persuaded her to not say ‘No!’,” a source said.
Shortly after Ms Kadaga’s appointment, reports started swirling, especially on social media, that the Kamuli Woman MP had rejected her new ministerial appointment.
But Mr Kintu would later tell local media in Busoga that Ms Kadaga was appreciative of her appointment and was looking forward to the task ahead.
The source said Ms Kadaga had reportedly said the slot was “too small” for her. “She told somebody that it was like an insult to her; it’s a very small thing and that she was against putting her under someone who has been smaller (sic) than her,” the source said.
A day after the hotly-contested speakership race in which Ms Kadaga lost to Mr Jacob Oulanyah, the source added, Ms Kadaga met Hajj Moses Kigongo, the NRM national vice chairperson, who reportedly talked her into accepting the vice presidency or prime minister slot.
“Mr Kigongo promised to speak to President Museveni, and later, Ms Kadaga met President Museveni, who was okay with appointing Ms Kadaga vice president, but on condition that she tells the public that the position is not small as she had said,” the source said.
The source, however, said it was unclear when Ms Kadaga was supposed to publically retract her statements about the vice presidency job.
Meanwhile, Busoga Kingdom has hailed President Museveni for appointing four Cabinet ministers from the area.
Mr Andrew Ntange, the Busoga Kingdom spokesperson, said: “In the previous Cabinet, Busoga Sub-region had eight ministers with only one Cabinet minister, Ms Esther Mbayo (Presidency); but now we have seven, including four Cabinet ministers, who will always sit with Mr Museveni and talk about issues affecting the region,” Mr Ntange said on Wednesday.
Mr Ntange added that the appointments “automatically put the ruling NRM on course to salvage support from the region.”
In the January 2021 elections, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine of the National Unity Platform beat Mr Museveni in Busoga Sub-region by 32,197 votes.
Bobi Wine won in Kamuli, Luuka, Iganga, Jinja, Bugweri, Bugiri, Namayingo and Mayuge while Mr Museveni won in Buyende, Kaliro and Namutumba.
by Abubaker Kirunda