Museveni dropped Irene Muloni as minister of Energy and Monica Azuba as minister of Works and Transport. Speculation darted to the alarm sounded by Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga about the alleged theft of money to the tune of Shs24billion meant for a construction of a bridge between Kayunga and Kamuli. However Muloni it appears was dropped because she does not have a constituency.
As a way of placating the Bugisu sub-region from which Muloni hails, Museveni appointed Mary Goretti Kitutu who is Woman MP for Manafwa district as a replacement. Kitutu is currently minister of state for environment while Muloni is now a presidential advisor.
Although, Muloni can take credit for the completion of Isimba hydropower dam that Museveni commissioned in March this year, she will now watch from the sidelines as a mere presidential advisor on energy as Karuma nears completion probably late next year.
In another key decision, Museveni dropped two ministers from Works and Transport; Azuba and one of her deputies; Aggrey Bagiire. Conversely, he elevated Gen. Katumba Wamala to the position of full minister after serving three years as State Minister for Works.
Azuba, who worked tirelessly in the revival of Uganda Airlines, will, like her counterpart Muloni, be a mere presidential advisor.
The Works sector takes a lion’s share of the national budget with upwards of Shs6trillion that goes into construction and maintenance of roads. Sources say perhaps Museveni looks at the former army chief Wamala as more proactive when it comes to dealing with matters infrastructure.
Wamala also had a better working relationship with the roads agency, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). Given Museveni’s preference for soldiers in service delivery, insiders say Wamala’s move up was in the offing. Peter Lokeris and Joy Kabatsi are the deputies in charge of Works and Transport respectively.
Kamya, Amongi swap
Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, was ecstatic with the news of the transfer of Kampala Minister Beti Kamya to Lands, Housing and Urban Development. Speaking to journalists at his home, Lukwago sounded a note of caution to Kamya advising her not to play the same politics as she did while at City Hall, the seat of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
“If she attempts to manifest the same in the new docket that could be the end of her political career,” he said.
The two leaders had an acrimonious relationship and there was talk of a new bill that Kamya had introduced to take away the powers of the Lord Mayor to approve KCCA budgets.
Lukwago, an opposition stalwart in his own right had a similar message for the incoming minister for Kampala, Betty Amongi.
“If your assignment is to bury Lukwago’s political career, come with tough gloves,” he said.
The Lord Mayor said he is not ready to compromise on accountability and rule of law. Lukwago has been a source of headache for Museveni in Kampala for the last nine years and all indications are that he will vie for the mayor position again in 2021.
In other changes, Frank Tumwebaze was moved to ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
Meanwhile, Minister for Privatisation and Investment, Evelyn Anite, triumphed over what she claimed were ‘mafia’ fighting her over the audit of Uganda Telecom (UTL). With the transfer of Mwesigwa Rukutana back to the Ministry of Labour, she perhaps looks to a smoother process while dealing with UTL.
Anite spent the better part of the year flexing muscles with deputy attorney general Rukutana over an audit of the government-owned UTL that drew in other big shots in government on Rukutana’s side.
Ephraim Kamuntu, deemed not very conversant with legal matters moves to the ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs while Tom Butime will now be in charge of Tourism and Wildlife. Other new entrants to cabinet are Robinah Nabbanja, minister of State for Health (general duties) and Hellen Adoa minister of state for fisheries.
The firing of Ida Nantaba as minister of state for ICT was widely expected in the reshuffle. She ran into trouble early this year after being involved in a shooting incident in Mukono that claimed the life of Ronald Sebuliime, an innocent bystander. For most of the year, she stayed away from official duties and at some point was said to be in hiding out of the country.
Also dropped from the 80 member cabinet are Alex Onzima and Abdul Nadduli. Onzima was the State Minister in the Office of the Vice President while Nadduli was minister without portfolio.