A number of Ugandans will find President Yoweri Museveni’s new choices for cabinet positions as dramatic and brave.
By naming his wife Janet Museveni to the important docket of Ministry of Education, as full Minister of Security, president Museveni has chosen to bring perhaps his most trusted individuals closer as he embarks on yet another term of office in his 30 year-plus reign as President of Uganda.
First lady Janet Museveni has been holding the cabinet position as Minister for Karamoja affairs, which is under the Prime Minister’s office and with definitely a small budget. Her appointment to the position of Minister of Education, Mr. Museveni has put the affairs and future of majority of Uganda’s population in the hands of his wife.
The 2014 Uganda census shows that 55 percent of Uganda’s population is below the age of 18, and therefore of school-going age. Indeed majority of this population category are in school and will come under Mrs. Museveni’s care.
Although Mrs. Museveni was previously responsible for impoverished hunger-prone but mineral rich Karamoja region, her budget and her presence on the ground in Karamoja wasn’t as visible as would be expected of her in the education ministry.
Lt. Gen. Tumukunde
The adage that blood is thicker than water perhaps fits the relationship between Retired Lt. Gen. Henry Tumumukunde and President Museveni.
Gen. Tumukunde who is married to Stella Rubarenzya, a niece to first Lady Janet Museveni, has had a turbulent relationship with President Museveni. While as chief of the External Security Organisation, Tumukunde was accused of being arrogant and insensitive when he claimed that Ushs800m was money for groceries in his home.
With accusations of amassing property against him, Tumukunde was dropped from the influential post and put on Katebe – Kampala speak for not being deployed – for a long time.
His appointment recently as a coordinator of security affairs in President Museveni’s recent campaigns was the latest indicator of thawing relations between the two brotherly generals.
Although he claimed to have been shot in an ugly and violent clash in Fort portal while trying to fight for his son in the western youth MP contest against the son of Rtd. Maj. Bright Rwamirama, another of Museveni’s relatives, Tumukunde had since kept his cool.
Although Tumukunde at one point expressed sympathies with FDC’s former presidential contender Dr. Kizza Besigye political struggles, his appointment as Minister of Security further confirms that brothers can fight sometimes, but not all the time.
In the new cabinet, Major Rwamirama has been moved from the docket of Ministry of state for animal husbandry to become the first state minister for veteran affairs, a new ministry that has been created.