President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday dissolved the entire cabinet as required by law, and gave perhaps his clearest indication that he intends to drop most of them in the coming cabinet.
But for many of the outgoing ministers, especially those that have spent decades in cabinet, life outside a chauffer driven ministerial car and certainly without the trappings that come with authority such as escorts, first class air travel and freebies, has certainly caused panic in the old guard. Most of Museveni’s ministers know they have no chance after they were trounced by minnows in the just ended elections.
The Head of State treated his ministers to a special dinner that bore the hallmarks of the last supper Jesus Christ served his disciples ahead of his crucification.
While speaking at the memorable meeting at State House Entebbe, Museveni threw compliments at the outgoing ministers praising them for hard work, which he said had brought Uganda near the middle income country status.
“This is the cabinet that has taken Uganda to near middle income status,” Museveni spoke glowingly of his team
Museveni swears in as President of Uganda on May 12, 2016 for his 5th term that will prolong his hold onto power to 35 years come 2021.
Museveni threw another instructive hint when he said that with the current cabinet’s experience; they have made the work of the next cabinet easy.
The president perhaps for the first time acknowledged that his government made mistakes but offered to address them.
“We now know where things went wrong and right and it will be easier to move forward, “the president added. Though he shied from qualifying the sentence by adding “without some of you”, Museveni let the cat out of the bag all the same. He didn’t do it merely for tactical reasons.
Museveni made references to Uganda’s oil which still lies there in the ground. He was upbeat that now that the issue of the pipeline has been sorted, exploration will ensue shortly.
“Uganda will start earning money by 2019,” Museveni said wearing a beaming face. He said oil will be an added advantage because money accruing from it will make it easy for government to carry out a lot of development projects.
New Cabinet in the offing
But as the new cabinet takes shape, a section of ministers must be panicking. Museveni himself must be nursing sleepless nights as he tries to figure out what to do exactly to please some of his historical allies such as Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, Jim Muhwezi, Crispus Kiyonga and Irene Muloni among others.
Although his soldiering credentials remain hazy, Dr Crispus Kiyonga is one of the vital engines that drive NRM. Until his shocking downfall engineered by a young man who is his kin aside from being a former campaign manager, Kiyonga was one of the strongest politicians in Kasese region.
Since taking government, Museveni has been keeping Kiyonga in successive cabinets to date. He is the powerful minister of Defense currently.
The other category of poll losers are older men, but ones who appear to be indispensable in the eyes of president Museveni and NRM. One is Henry Muganwa Kajura.
In spite of the fact that he is one of the sleepy ministers, a condition traced to his advanced age, Museveni has kept Muganwa in cabinet at all times. This has been a reward to Muganwa for the elder’s indisputable allegiance to NRM. But, also not to be discounted is the fact that Muganwa remains one of the cherished figures back in Bunyoro.
Election loosers fate
Some of the loosers are new comers in NRM. But they have demonstrated to Mzee to be his very loyal cadres as well fairly good performers. They include Nekesa Oundo, Irene Muloni, Flavia Munaaba, Rebecca Otengo, Alex Omach and Rukia Nakadama.
In enters attorney general Fred Ruhindi who lost his Nakawa seat merely because Museveni tasked him to draft a law banning the positions of the lord mayor. Nakawa being part of Kampala where Erias Lukwago is a darling, sending Ruhindi on such an assignment buried his chances of being reelected. Yet he accepted the instructions purely because he is the attorney general!
Henry Banyenzaki is another interesting man in the mix. Museveni gave the job only recently in order to stop him from engaging in rebelling against NRM. They say it is bad manners to speak while eating and Banyenzaki hasn’t been shooting off his mouth since then.
Those who faltered
On the other hand, there is one minister who made the job of Museveni firing him very easy. He is Asuman Kiyingi. This one supported the Go Forward’s John Patrick Amama Mbabazi in his project of dispatching Museveni back to Rwakitura.
The young man went out of his way by making everyone know how he was a super campaigner for Mbabazi. It doesn’t take one holding a PHD in politics to understand that this man’s name will not be read as one of the ministers in Museveni’s new cabinet.
For now though, Uganda must move forward, and in view of the thirst for change, Ugandans will likely be anxious to welcome fresh faces in cabinet.