Museveni drops 35 ministers, appoints wife to head key ministry

By Godfrey Olukya and Mark Anderson
Posted on Tuesday, 7 June 2016 13:41

Museveni, who in February won a disputed electoral victory has been in power for 30 years and has appointed family members to key posts in what observers believe is laying the groundwork for a relative to take after him.

Recently, he elevated his son in the army to the rank of a major general. Now he has appointed his wife as minister of a key ministry

The president’s son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba was promoted to be a major general in the army in contentious circumstances, but recently he said he would not seek the presidency.

Before her latest posting, Janet was the Minister for Karamoja Affairs.

Opposition politicians are critical about Museveni’s choice to head the education ministry, which is the second most funded after the Defence ministry.

Conservative Party president, John Ken Lukyamuzi, one of Uganda’s most outspoken opposition politicians accused Museveni of nepotism.

“Museveni is favouring members of his family at the expense of other Ugandans,” he said.

“Recently, he elevated his son in the army to the rank of a major general. Now he has appointed his wife as minister of a key ministry. That is unfair to the rest of Ugandans.”

Analysts said Museveni’s new role is not necessarily a promotion. “It’s technically a promotion but it’s more of a sideways shift and it doesn’t fundamentally change things,” said Magnus Taylor, Uganda analyst at the International Crisis Group.

And according to Jamie Hitchen, policy researcher at the African Research Institute, Museveni’s move is “not a fundamental shift”.

In the new cabinet, Museveni retained Vice President, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi and Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, as well as Matia Kasaija as Finance minister and Irene Muloni as Energy minister.

Several of the ministers, who have been in Museveni’s administration since he assumed power in 1986, also kept their positions.

These include Kahinde Otafiire, Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs and General Jeje Odongo, Minister of State for Defence.

Those axed included long time ministers like former prime minister, Henry Kajura, and long-time Defence minister Crispus Kiyinga. Some had held ministerial positions for more than 15 years.

Ruling party cadre, Richard Mojong, however, says Museveni’s wife is a hard working woman who will clean up the ministry of education, which is currently crippled by corruption.

With a cabinet of over 80 ministers, comprising 32 ministers and 49 state ministers, Uganda has one of the biggest cabinets in Africa.

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