Months after Parliament amended the constitution in December 2017, there was fear among NRM MPs who voted for the amendment. At a function, Ogwang asked President Museveni for bodyguards because he felt he was being trailed.
It will also be a test for Museveni on whether he can keep these new ministers in cabinet if he wins the 2021 presidential election, in the event that the ministers have lost in their constituencies.
Analysts say the same goes for Molly Nawe Kamukama, the Principal Private Secretary to the President who has been appointed minister of State for Economic Monitoring. She is expected to run for parliament and ‘justify’ her ministerial position among the voters. Failure to win a seat could cost her, her cabinet position if the NRM government retains power in 2021.
However not everyone who was fervently pro-amending the constitution was rewarded. Simeo Nsubuga, MP for Kassanda South in Mubende District, was left out and so was Moses Balyeku of Jinja West, one of the seconders of Magyezi’s motion. Mid this year, Nsubuga narrated his ordeal claiming abandonment by the NRM when hundreds of his constituents in Mubende were facing eviction.
“I have stood with NRM at a time when no one wanted to be associated with NRM, I have sacrificed so much for the sake of NRM. I defended the party when no one could, but is this what they are paying me?”
Museveni, however, appointed Judith Nabakooba, who is a Woman MP in Mityana, a district neighbouring Mubende, to the position of Minister for Information and ICT.
Some observers expressed reservations about her appointment as ICT minister but other sources say she was likely selected for the docket due to her previous role as Police spokesperson prior to joining into politics in the last general election.
The other notable but not surprising appointment is Beatrice Anywar, who will be state minister for environment. Anywar is a former diehard supporter for opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye and now an avowed admirer of Museveni.
She fell out with Besigye’s party, FDC, before the 2016 elections when she backed presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi. Anywar then stood as an independent and won the Kitgum Woman MP race for the third time. Her schmoozing with NRM was cemented when she voted to amend the age limit.
Anywar also known as Mama Mabira is now expected to deliver Kitgum to the NRM since a daughter of the soil has been elevated to cabinet. In 2007, she led a protest in Kampala against the proposed giveaway of Mabira Forest to investors to grow sugarcane earning her the moniker. At the time, she was shadow minister for Environment.
The appointment of Denis Hamson Obua, as the new minister of State for Sports also got the public by surprise. Sports has been a long suffering ministry with voices in the sports sector calling for it to be separated from the education ministry where it is more of an appendage.
Obua, the Ajuri County MP is the captain of the parliament soccer team and has often travelled with other MPs to morale boost the Uganda Cranes, the national football team, in their away games outside the country.
Sports enthusiasts generally welcomed Obua’s appointment with some describing him as someone who cares about sports in general. However the youthful and passionate Obua will have to contend with the underfunded ministry in a government that has prioritised construction of roads and dams.
Worse still, national sport teams; of football, netball, boxing, athletics are usually reduced to begging for a bail-out at the eleventh hour for air tickets for international tournaments. Obua’s main task may be lobbying for more resources to a perennially underfunded ministry since Uganda’s sports personalities and teams have proved that they can do well at the highest stages even with the meagre budgets.
The other task of Obua may be to sort out National Council of Sports which critics say is out of its depth as a sports management body and has instead sowed discord among sports federations.