News and Views

Museveni lays down the law for ministers

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President Museveni today cautioned newly sworn-in ministers to get down to serious work and avoid unnecessary foreign travel if they are to make a meaningful contribution to his government.Addressing the ministers at State House Entebbe, Museveni said he expected more action and less talk from the ministers.

“Being elected to a position is for a purpose… for a reason. That reason is for the good of the people not just for your good. As MPs, you ought to be conscious of these challenges which we have identified. We have put them in manifestos’ of NRM in the successive elections we have had.

“As MPs, even before you become a minister, you should know it’s your duty to push forward any of these programmes, if they come to your line of duty, expeditiously,” Museveni said, according to a statement from State House.

Yesterday’s swearing-in ceremony was closed to the media, fueling speculation that the President wanted to avoid the controversy surrounding the approval of Idah Nantaba as junior Lands minister. Nonetheless, Museveni, if the tone of the press release is anything to go by, was in a serious mood.

This speech, for instance, was in sharp contrast with the humour-peppered one he made after swearing-in the new cabinet in 2006, where upon he revealed that he had appointed Okello Henry Oryem to cabinet as a reward for “baby sitting” Muhoozi Kainerugaba while in exile in Tanzania.

Yesterday he said many MPs did not know their historical mission of facilitating–not opposing–– development, mentioning for the umpteenth time that some in the sixth Parliament had frustrated earlier efforts to develop Bujagali power dam. Curiously this time, he singled out Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, the former army commander (then Army MP), accusing him of being part of this group.

He said: “I remember [Muntu] very well because when I called that committee, he was one of them. He was sitting on my left. I asked them, ‘why are you delaying this dam. Whose dam is this? Is it a minister’s dam or it is a Ugandans’ dam, including yourselves? If ministers did not do it properly, why don’t you show [them] how to do things properly and move on’?”

Muntu is now campaigning to become president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), and his supporters will think the President was trying to undermine him. What he will not tolerate, Museveni said, are ministers who do not take their work seriously.

“Many of them don’t attend cabinet meetings and don’t tell the Vice President or Prime Minister who chair the cabinet or seek permission. I’m going to issue very strict instructions to ensure that cabinet ministers attend their meetings on Wednesday,” he said.

The president warned the new ministers against excessive travel. The Secretary to Cabinet, John Mitala, administered the oaths, assisted by his deputy, V. Opio-Lukone.

New ministers

The new cabinet ministers include Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere (General Duties, OPM), Frank Tumwebaze (Presidency and Kampala Capital City Authority), Richard Todwong (Minister without Portfolio in-charge of Political Mobilization) and Kasule Lumumba (Chief Whip).

Others are: Shem Bagaine (Minister of State for East African Affairs), Ernest Kiiza (Minister of State for Bunyoro Affairs), Ajedra Gabriel Gadison Aridru (Minister of State for Investment) Sarah Kataike Ndoboli (Minister of State for Health), Idah Nantaba (Minister of State for Lands) and Rosemary Najjemba (Minister of State for Urban Development).


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