THE INSIDE STORY: Why President Museveni Chose Current Cabinet
“President Couldn’t Allow Kadaga Become Bait for Opposition”
Compiled By Markson Omagor
On Wednesday 8th June 2021, His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni released a Cabinet list that has left many Ugandans asking questions.
Notable names that were least expected are Hon. Robinah Nabanja Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, Hon. Jessica Alupo, H.E the Vice President, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Hon Lukia Nakadama 3rd Deputy Prime Minister.
The distribution of the appointments where Central and West took the lion’s share also has many factors responsible. Although Central has 15 Ministers, it still lost 3 positions since in the previous cabinet, the region had 18.
An inside source privy to the ongoings before the cabinet list was agreed upon intimated to this reporter that Rt. Honorable Nabbanja scooped the Prime Minister slot because Museveni wants to appease Banyoro since government is in the final stages of oil production.
“You see the country is soon embarking on oil production and from Bunyoro region, so the appointing Authority needed a person from the area who is a good mobilizer and has strong reach amongst the Banyoro people and the Kingdom,” the source said.
Teso and Northern Uganda generally ate big which according to the source is President Museveni’s handshake for the overwhelming support he got from the sub regions after Central and Busoga turned against him. Acholi however ended up with only three positions because the region already has Chief Justice, Alphonse Owiny Dollo and Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah.
For Teso, Museveni retained old faces in General Jeje Odongo now Minister of Foreign Affairs, Musa Ecweru now Minister of State for Works, Hellen Adoa who retained her Minister of State for Fisheries docket, Peter Ogwang State Minister of the President in charge Economic Monitoring.
He also added Hellen Asamo, Minister of State for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Okasai Sidronius Opolot (State Minister for Energy and Minerals Development-Energy) and H.E Jessica Alupo, the Vice President.
Why the choice of Jessica Alupo for Vice Presidency?
Besides rewarding Teso for voting for him at the expense of their own son, Hon. Eng Patrick Amuriat of FDC, President Museveni is said to want to neutralize Hon. Mike Mukula, the Eastern Region NRM Vice Chairman.
For starters, Mike Mukula is known to have fought H.E Alupo’s political comeback to the extent she ended up standing as an NRM leaning Independent candidate for Katakwi District Woman MP. Museveni also wants to balance off the anti- Anita Annete Among camp within Teso. Anita is the new Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
Of course H.E Alupo has her own strengths; she is a renowned NRM Cadre and Mobilizer, has been Minister of Education and has faithfully towed the Party line. Even her candidature for the District Woman MP Katakwi in the last concluded general elections as an Independent had blessings of the Party’s top leadership.
Was it surprising that Markson Oboth Oboth got a ministerial appointment?
Oboth Oboth is the Member of Parliament representing West Budama South and has been appointed Minister of State for Defence and Veteran Affairs (Veteran Affairs.)
Oboth was chairman Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee when the amendment to the Presidential Age Limit was debated. My source intimates that Oboth has been rewarded for helping deliver the much controversial bill.
Secondly, Oboth Oboth declared interest to contest for the position of Deputy Speaker. However, when CEC sat, he was asked to step aside and he willingly accepted. Two things come to mind here; either Oboth negotiated for this position at the time he was stepping down from the Deputy Speaker race or the Appointing Authority picked interest in him from the time of the Presidential Age Limit debate.
The Busoga Gang of Four Ladies
Leading this pack is former Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga as 1st Deputy Premier followed by Hon. Lukia Nakadama the 3rd Deputy Premier, Hon. Kasule Lumumba, the Minister Office of the Prime Minister (General Duties) and Hon. Namuganza, the Minister of State for Lands, Housing and Urban Development (Housing).
These four according to sources have been placed in those positions to try and redeem Busoga for the NRM Party. Besides, Busoga has been fractured with three prominent camps. Therefore the appointment of the Big Three was to keep all the camps of Babalanda, Justine Kasule Lumumba and that of Kadaga happy.
But as for Kadaga as an individual, President Museveni is said to have appreciated her popularity first during the NRM CEC campaigns where even when the State Machinery was used against her, she still beat Namugunza hands down. The same popularity was seen in the race for Speakership where Kadaga who stood as an Independent against express orders of CEC put up a spirited fight garnering 197 votes.
Aware of Kadaga’s potential, Museveni is said to have given a big post to stop the Opposition from poaching her from NRM.
“There was no way he was going to allow her to go out and become a bait for the opposition,” the Insider intimated to this reporter yesterday 9th June 2021.
Meanwhile the appointment of Hon. Thomas Tayebwa as Government Chief Whip was a deal reached between President Museveni and Tayebwa when he was convinced not to contest for the Deputy Speaker against Anita.
It should be recalled that during the NRM Caucus primary elections for the position of Deputy Speaker, Tayebwa lost narrowly to Anita and vowed to go ahead and contest as an Independent.
This was seen as a move orchestrated by Kadaga to have an ally in Tayebwa. Indeed according to the source, had this alliance stood Kadaga and Tayebwa could have won the races for Speaker and Deputy respectively.
The Buganda List
To begin with, the Baganda not only lost the Vice Presidency, they also did not appear among the Prime Ministers. This according to the source is a direct message from President Museveni that the Baganda betrayed him.
“To drive his point home, he returned to Cabinet those the voters rejected; notably Vincent Ssempijja, and Judith Nabakoba,” he said.