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19 ministers Ugandans don’t want

The Independent Team

As the scent of an impending reshuffle of President Yoweri Museveni’s cabinet persists, The Independent conducted a random survey of the public rating of the current cabinet. In a startling finding, the survey revealed an increasing clamour for a complete overhaul of up to three-quarters of Museveni’s cabinet which is tainted by accusations of murder, defilement, child neglect, corruption, and adultery.

Sam Kutesa,

Minister of Foreign Affairs and in-law of President Museveni:

He has been recently named in a Shs1.3 billion deal in which he hired a London based firm allegedly to improve Uganda’s image abroad. The Auditor General has questioned the deal which Kutesa handled without competitive bidding and minus PPDA’s involvement.

In 1999, Kutesa, then minister of state for Finance, Planning and Economic Development in charge of planning and investment was censured by the sixth parliament. As chairman of Entebbe Handling Services (ENHAS) and as minister, he was in a position of conflict of interest in executing personal business affairs of his company ENHAS while at the same time making key decisions on the affairs of Uganda Airlines Corporation. He was accused of causing financial loss to Uganda Airlines by allowing the airline’s shares to be bought below market value. A year later, Kutesa returned to parliament and cabinet

Kirunda Kivejinja,

Third deputy prime minister and minister of information:

He lost his parliamentary seat last year after court ordered a by-election which rival Abdu Katuntu of the FDC party won. Apparently, Kivejinja had allegedly bribed voters and orchestrated violence in the 2006 parliamentary elections.

He resigned as minister of Works, Transport and Communications in 1997 after MPs collected signatures to censure him over accusations that he had diverted 2,000 litres of fuel from Uganda Railways, under his ministry, for personal use.

Kahinda Otafiire,


Minister for Local Government:

He is accused of neglecting his children and their mother, a primary school teacher Ms Allen Atukunda. Not even a DNA test that proved that he was 99.9% the father of the children and directives by the Uganda Human Rights Commission and FIDA could get him to cooperate. He has also been accused of unethical behavior in the long-running Nakasero Market scandal, the Nakawa and Naguru land sagas.

Otafiire, who is known to sleep at public functions, pulled a gun on Sam Kuteesa’s now deceased wife, Jennifer, after she allegedly insulted him. Following the incident, he resigned. He bounced back. In 2005, he drove into a ditch at about 2 a.m. on Kinawataka road in Kampala and when a journalist got to the scene and took pictures, an enraged Otafiire did it again; he drew his pistol and brandished it threateningly in his face. This time he did not resign.

Fred Mukisa,

State minister for Fisheries:

He proved that he takes his job literally by actually dealing in fish in Busia. When the fisheries department accused him of being angry with them for interfering in his fish business, including dealing in immature fish, he had to come clean, ”I do legal business and I supply the fish to Igloo, a company in Majanji in Busia,’ he said in August last year, ‘I want anyone to come out and show that at any one time I supplied immature fish to this company. I know those who are spreading the malicious allegations and I am open to investigations. If anybody can prove them, I will resign.’ Well, but as minister for fisheries should he be in the fish business at all?

Emmanuel Otaala,

State minister for Health (Primary Health Care): Has a reputation for his preference in using fists not words. Ms Margaret Tageyerawo, a nursing officer at Mulago Hospital said Otaala hit her with files and attempted to slap her in July 2007. Tageyerawo, in a letter to the executive director of Mulago Hospital said Otaala was angry that a patient known to him had not been treated. Health minister Stephen Mallinga too has complained to Premier Apolo Nsibambi accusing Otaala of threatening to punch him during a management meeting.

Gilbert Bukenya,

Vice President:


Most of his dishonorable acts have to do with women. In March 2007, his alleged extra-marital affair with Jamilah Nakku whetted the appetite of scandal loving Ugandans. Nakku, then a secretary in the president’s office told a press conference that she was the Vice President’s second wife wedded under customary marriage. In July 2008 Emmanuel Nyabayango accused the Vice President or ‘mahogany’ as he came to be known, of snatching his wife Margaret Kabasinguzi Akiiki. Bukenya denied the accusations and pointed a finger at political foes as the people behind the accusations.

Musa Ecweru,

State minister for Disaster Preparedness:

He is accused of two capital offences: murder and defilement. An investigation by the Human Rights Commission confirmed that the Arrow Boys, a militia group that was formed to fight LRA out of Teso, on the directives of RDC Musa Ecweru deliberately killed Pius Obwangor in March 2005. Despite this, he was appointed minister in 2006. In September 2008, the minister was accused of the defilement of a 17-year-old girl, who he also allegedly impregnated. Two months later the case was withdrawn from Buganda Road court because the girl and her father who was the complainant could not be traced. Ecweru said it was a smear campaign by his political opponents.

Amama Mbabazi,

Minister for Security and Secretary General of the ruling NRM party:

If there is anyone whose hands could have been chopped off last year, it is Mbabazi.

Amama (or Arma Ltd as some people refer to him nowadays) allegedly used his mega influence to get the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to buy his land in Temangalo (which means: ‘chop off hands’ in Luganda). Amama desperately needed Shs 11 billion to salvage his business; the National Bank of Commerce. Instead of a dismissal he was exonerated by the cabinet and the president.

Ezra Suruma,

Minister of Finance:

In the Temangalo land saga, Suruma is said to have pressured then NSSF MD David Chandi Jamwa to buy Mbabazi’s land. NSSF is under the ministry of Finance and Jamwa was in an unpleasant position of differing with his boss if he refused. According to Jamwa, he attempted to resist but Suruma insisted he produce the money. Suruma, is a shareholder in the National Bank of Commerce with Mbabazi. He asked Jamwa to buy the Temangalo land because they wanted the money to increase their shareholding in the bank.

At a meeting in Munyonyo, Suruma asked for Shs 15 billion. Jamwa initially refused saying NSSF could not provide that much but later agreed to buy the land at Shs 11 billion. Ironically, when the deal became openly known, Suruma asked Jamwa to resign. In the end, although he came clean and told the story to the MPs and even wrote a detailed letter to President Museveni explaining how he had been put under pressure by minister Suruma to buy the land, it was Jamwa who got sacked. Suruma is still entrusted with overseeing the workers’ fund at NSSF.

Eriya Kategaya,

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East Africa Affairs: When he spoke out against the lack of democracy in the NRM party and opposed President Museveni’s plans to cling to power, it was seen as the beginning of the rebirth of a party that had for long been tightly controlled by the president. For that he lost his job as internal affairs minister and first deputy prime minister in May 2003 and he still vowed never to backtrack. Then the most dramatic of U-turns happened when he shamelessly rejoined the NRM and got his present job.

Richard Nduhura,

Minister of state for Health:

In 2001, his rival in the parliamentary elections, the late Spencer Turwomwe challenged the election results in court accusing Nduhura of various offences including voting twice, an allegation that was proved to the satisfaction of the court and the election was nullified and a by-election was ordered. Nduhura won the by-election and his ministerial post as state minister for Trade and Industry was not affected by the fraud.

Alintuma Nsambu,

State minister for ICT:

In September 2006 he was charged for issuing a cheque that bounced. He issued the cheque of Shs 1.2 million to a Rakai women’s organisation.

Nsambu borrowed Shs 1.6m from the Women Enterprise Association of Rakai in 2001 and he failed to pay back.
Nsambu promised to give the women cash, but all efforts to recover the money, even through the Speaker of Parliament, were fruitless.

The women were left with no choice but to go to court. In his defense, Nsambu said, ‘I am not a criminal to resign. I am one of the most innocent politicians this country has seen. There is no reason for me to resign because I am the best for Masaka’¦’

Bright Rwamirama,

State minister for Agriculture:

He was interdicted in the early 90s when he was chief finance officer for UPDF (then NRA). He was detained at Makindye Military Barracks for embezzlement.

President Museveni used Rwamirama’s case to drum up claims about his commitment to fight abuse of office. He stressed on radio during the 2001 presidential campaigns that he never favoured his relatives; that not even his close relative Rwamirama was spared after he was accused of embezzlement. This relative is now in the cabinet.

Tarsis Kabwegyere,

Minister of Disaster Preparedness:

His office procured maize, beans, sorghum, millet, groundnuts, hoes, pangas, axes and sickles. Most seeds were spoiled while the steel broke easily. This was part of resettlement kits as incentive by the government to the people in IDP camps who were returning to their villages to cultivate land.

Henry Kajura,

Minister of Public Service:

He sleeps! He sleeps at public functions. This open display of sleepiness is a screaming demonstration that the man is tired and needs to retire.

Nsaba Buturo,

Minister of state for Ethics and Integrity: While minister of state for information and broadcasting, Buturo took Shs 20 million shillings from a radio station in Gulu, Mega FM, in 2004. Buturo, however, admitted to not going through proper channels when he took the money for use by his office. The minister later explained that he never used the money for personal use but to produce a documentary about Uganda since independence. He refunded the money.

John Nasasira,

Minister of Works and Transport: He has been in the Works ministry since 1989 but it looks like the civil engineer is not learning from past mistakes. It’s now 20 years with him continuously in charge of roads but the gullies have become wider. There are more accidents while motorists are maneuvering potholes on narrow roads. His recent promise to rid Uganda of potholes in three years (by 2011) was received with cynicism.

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