Election card? Ministers from Kigezi are seen as the President’s campaign agents in case Amama Mbabazi stands for presidency.
Nationwide- There were mixed reactions in Kigezi sub-region as leaders weighed in on the Sunday Cabinet reshuffle. The region got nine ministers and a prime minister.
Outspoken parish priest for Kitanga Catholic Church in Kabale Diocese, Fr Gaetano Batanyenda, said the appointments may generate hatred from other sub-regions with fewer ministers.
“The new team of ministers from Kigezi are just President Museveni campaign agents in case former prime minister Amama Mbabazi comes up to contest for presidency. This Cabinet reshuffle was biased in favour of Kigezi and other sub-regions may start hating us assuming that Museveni loves Kigezi more than them yet it is not the case,” Fr Batanyenda said.
However, the senior presidential adviser for Kigezi, Can John Bitunguramwe, said the team from his area would strengthen the NRM party and its leadership.
He hailed the President for appointing Mr Philemon Mateke.
“I taught Mateke in Primary Five and I am happy that my former student has been appointed a minister. His appointment shall be a permanent bridge between the NRM party and the people of Kisoro District since he knows almost all the problems and needs of Bafumbira in this area,” Can Bitunguramye said.
Mr Mateke welcomed his appointment and promised to cause development and create unity among the people of Kigezi.
The NRM party mobiliser for Ndorwa County, Mr Neresensio Nshangabasheija, said the appointment of Mr David Bahati as state minister for Planning will win the support of the youth.
In Kanungu District, councillor Apollo Twinamatsiko said the appointment of Dr Chris Baryomunsi did not excite anybody because he worked against former prime minister Amama Mbabazi.
“We welcome the appointment of Dr Baryomunsi but we are not excited because he worked against our beloved former prime minister Amama Mbabazi. His appointment shall not in any way reduce Mr Mbabazi’s support in case he contests for presidency in 2016,” Mr Twinamasiko said.
On Mary Karooro’s appointment, Hajj Abbas Kazibwe, the former Kakoba Division LC3 chairperson, said: “Much as Karooro is a hardworking lady, I am worried about the ministry she had been given. The Security ministry would be best suited for one with more ideas about security and military.”
However, Mr Willis Bashaasha, the Bushenyi LC5 chairperson, disagrees, saying: “This is a sensitive and important ministry and shows how important Bushenyi is to the President. Those who say she does not have the capability are wrong. We have seen engineers in the works ministry not doing a good job.”
The news of Mr Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, as the new state minister for Agriculture, excited the greater Masaka region.
Mr Ssempijja ascended to the Kalungu East parliamentary seat as an NRM-leaning independent candidate in 2011 after trouncing Mr Umar Lule Mawiya, who was the party flag bearer.
His supporters say he deserved the post due to his proficiency in coffee and banana farming. Mr Raphael Kissekka (DP), the district speaker, said Mr Ssempijja deserved the office because of promoting agriculture in the area.
“His contribution in the promotion and reviving of coffee farming in his constituency is compared to none,” he said.
“Despite our political differences, Mr Ssempijja, is one politician who is community-development-minded person.
We are now longing to see him use his ministerial post to help in the reviving commercial farming in the district like he has done to some of his electorate,” said Mr Emmanuel Musoke, the district chairperson.
The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Service, Mr Henry Muganwa Kajura, was not surprised that he was re-appointed.
“I am grateful that the President has kept faith and trust in me. This is a reward for my hard work and loyalty,” Mr Kajura said.
The Hoima NRM chairperson and Municipality MP is one of the longest-serving ministers in President Museveni’s cabinet.
“I focus on service delivery. I have not been implicated in any corruption scandal. The President knows my abilities,” Mr Kajura said.
His critics accuse him of clinging on political power and of advanced age, something he said is unfair because age has never been a hindrance to his performance.
The President retained Bunyoro Affairs minister Ernest Kiiza and elevated Mr Matia Kasaija to minister of Finance and moved Prof Nyira Mijumbi from state minister for Agriculture to Fisheries.
A section of Karimojong elders have hailed President Museveni and promised to support him in 2016 for keeping Mr Peter Lokeris, the State Minister for Minerals, and Simon Lokodo State Minister for Ethics.
Mr Paul Lonya, an elder from Nakapiripirit District, said Mr Museveni had made right choice to retain the duo who are seen as the only ministers in the region. His Moroto counterpart, Mr Samuel Longara, appealed to the President to appoint more ministers for the region.
Mbarara District misses out
Mbarara District saw no appointment. The last minister from the district was Mr Urban Tibamanya (state for Urban Planning), who was dropped after 2011 elections following his defeat by Wilberforce Yaguma in 2011 contest for Kashiri MP Seat.
Mr Museveni did not consider controversial Medard Bitekyerezo (Mbarara Municipality-NRM) and Vincent Kyamadidi (Rwampara-NRM-leaning Independent).
Neither was Ms Emma Boona (Mbarara District Woman MP-NRM) nor Kashari legislator Mr Wilberforce Yaguma considered.
“Our time is coming, not everyone should be in Cabinet.
Yaguma and I are vice chairpersons of HIV and Equal Opportunities committees and we doing some work. Some of us are first timers and we have to be patient,” Dr Bitekyerezo said.
He said he was pleased with the appointment of Dr Baryomunsi as state minister for health. “We have been together on the parliamentary committees of Health and HIV and he has been doing tremendous work. He is very knowledgeable in health issues and has a passion for health,” he said.
Compiled by Clement Aluma, Robert Muhereza, Paul Aruho, Rajab Mukombozi, Martins E.Ssekweyama, Francis Mugerwa & Steven Ariong.