EXCLUSIVE REPORTS: The list of ministers for the new cabinet has leaked to the press and the DailyExpress has exclusively learnt from trusted sources the proposed appointments awaiting President Museveni’s announcement soon.
In the leaked list of cabinet ministers, Museveni has reportedly proposed to appoint State House comptroller Lucy Nakyobe Mbonye as Vice President while Former Chief Whip of Government Ruth Nankabirwa is set to battle with NRM Secretary-General for the Premier job.
Ms Nakyobe is expected to replace former VP Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, who lost his Bukoto Central seat in the January parliamentary elections, and has held the job for a decade. She has been State House comptroller since 2010.
Ms Nakyobe, a devout Catholic with close ties to the populous Buganda Kingdom, has been proposed as a “compromise nominee” ahead of former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga who burnt bridges recently by running as an independent candidate, unsuccessfully, to retain her old job.
Sources told this newspaper that NRM secretary general Justine Kasule Lumumba was considered for the job but it was decided that her appointment might be divisive in Busoga region where she and Ms Kadaga comes from.
Kadaga’s political future remains unclear after she lost to her former deputy, Jacob Oulanyah.
Before the hotly-contested race, Ms Kadaga had publicly said she would not accept the vice president’s job in place of the speaker position, arguing that the number two role did not carry decision-making power.
In other key positions, competition for the Prime Minister position is said to be between former NRM Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa and Ms Lumumba.
Former PM John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, who fell out with President Museveni and ran against him in 2016, has been mentioned as a candidate for the job but sources said his name had met with resistance, especially from people who openly attacked him when he broke ranks.
Nevertheless the sources this newspaper spoke to, who asked not to be named in order to speak freely, said it is possible the President will use his discretion to accommodate him in government.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda is proposed to replace Ms Lumumba at the NRM Secretariat as secretary general of the ruling party.
Whoever loses the PM bid between Ms Nankabirwa and Ms Lumumba would be sent to head the Defence ministry docket, the sources said.
President Museveni’s brother, Gen Salim Saleh, and First Lady Janet Museveni, who sources said is still pencilled in as Education minister, back Ms Nankabirwa for the PM job, while most of the NRM Central Executive Committee backs Ms Lumumba. The President will make the final decision on the matter.
Outgoing Gender minister Frank Tumwebaze is expected to replace Ms Nankabirwa as Government Chief Whip.
In the first draft, Mr Museveni had sent Mr Tumwebaze back to the ICT ministry but he is believed to have changed his mind after National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, appointed Mr Mathias Mpuuga as Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
Mr Museveni is then said to have tipped Mr Tumwebaze for the Chief Whip job to counter NUP’s eloquent Mpuuga and bolster Speaker Jacob Oulanyah and his deputy Anita Among in Parliament.
Other candidates who were considered for the Chief Whip position were outgoing Planning minister David Bahati and Ruhinda North MP Thomas Bangirana Tayebwa.
Many of the people the President consulted backed Mr Tayebwa on account of his “exceptional mobilisation skills” demonstrated in the just concluded deputy speaker race but the NUP decision appears to have stayed his rise, at least for now.
Long-serving Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kahamba Kutesa is expected to be replaced by Adonia Ayebare, a journalist-turned-diplomat, who currently serves as Uganda’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Mr Kutesa has held the Foreign Affairs docket since January 13, 2005 and has been in Parliament since beating Mr Museveni in the 1980 elections.
However, in the January elections, Mr Kutesa successfully fronted his daughter, Ms Shartsi Musherure Nayebare for his Mawogola North constituency seat.
Mr Kutesa’s ability to represent the country abroad has been undermined in recent years following corruption allegations around his time as President of the UN General Assembly, which he continues to deny.
Another major casualty in the latest Cabinet list seen by this newspaper is long-serving Finance minister Matia Kasaija, who was proposed to move to the Office of the Prime Minister as minister in charge of General Duties.
The proposal follows President Museveni’s public rebuke last Friday of the ministry for masterminding corruption in public projects.
Mr Museveni is expected to propose to replace him with Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, an economics lecturer at Makerere University Business School.
Sources said Gen Saleh recommended Mr Ggoobi’s appointment to spearhead the planned implementation of the Parish Development Model, a Shs490b anti-poverty project.
The parish model initiative is the latest of several government attempts at lifting 68 per cent of households from subsistence economy to commercial production to reduce poverty in President’s new term.
In the draft plan, the President has also dropped outgoing Local Government Minister Raphael Magyezi, who led drive to remove the presidential age limit, and replaced him with Amolatar Woman MP Agnes Atim Apea.
Mr Magyezi didn’t fight to retain the Igara West constituency seat and it is not clear if he will be retained in another capacity.
Outgoing police spokesperson and ICT Minister Judith Nalule Nabakooba, who lost her Mityana District woman seat after only one term, has been proposed as Minister for Kampala City to replace Betty Amongi Akena.
Ms Amongi, a member of the Opposition UPC party and MP for Oyam South, and who previously served in Museveni’s Cabinet as Lands minister, is expected to be reassigned to another ministry.
The President is expected to make final changes to the list and announce the Cabinet nominees before the end of the week.
Former Investment minister Evelyn Anite is expected to take over the tourism docket from Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi. Mr Kiwanda’s fate remains unclear, even as sources insisted that deputy NRM Vice chairman in charge of Central Region, will bounce back to Cabinet.
After losing her Katakwi Woman MP seat in 2016, former Education minister Jessica Alupo is expected to bounce back at the Gender ministry. Burahya MP Margaret Muhanga has been tipped to join the Trade ministry but it wasn’t immediately clear whether she is going to replace Amelia Anne Kyambadde as Trade, Industry and Cooperatives minister, or joining her as a junior minister.
Ms Kyambadde lost her Mawokota County seat to NUP and attributed her loss to NRM’s overstay in power.
Who are the proposed ministerial appointees?
Mr Matia Kasaija is the Buyanja West MP in Kibaale District and outgoing Minister of Finance. He previously served as State Minister for Finance (Planning) and before that as State Minister for Internal Affairs.
During the Ugandan elections of 1980, at the age of 36, Mr Kasaija was elected to Parliament.
From 1980 until 1981, he served as the State Minister for Labour. From 1981 until 1986, he served as a member of the external wing of the National Resistance Movement/Army led by current President Museveni.
Mr Kasaija previously worked as the external director for Departed Asians Property Custodian Board put in place to safeguard properties that Idi Amin’s government expropriated in 1972.
He catapulted to national attention in 2017 when he tabled a private Member’s Bill to remove the presidential age limit from the Constitution in an amendment process scarred by rancour and Special Forces commandos’ invasion of Parliament chambers to kick out legislators delaying the motion.
Until the inauguration of the new government on May 12, Mr Magyezi was the Minister of Local Government and Igara West MP.
He previously worked as a statistician planner in Mukono District Local Government from 1991 to 1996, Senior Economist Ministry of Local Government from 1997 to 1998 and Secretary General of the Uganda Local Governments Association from 1998 to 2010 and later joined Parliament.
He is a Makerere University alumnus, and it remains unclear if he will be retained in Cabinet now that the Amolatar Woman MP, Dr Agness Apea Atim, is tipped to replace him.
Ms Rebecca Kadaga lost the Parliament Speaker position to her former deputy Jacob Oulanyah last month, sending her off to serve as a back-bencher after two decades of being deputy and substantive speaker.
In the run-up to the divisive elections, the Busoga region strongwoman publicly derided the Vice President position as unfit as the holder is not in-charge, vowing not to take it if offered.
Ms Kadaga, a law graduate from Makerere University and the University of Zimbabwe, joined Parliament in 1989 on the affirmative Kamuli Woman MP ticket and has remained so to-date. There was a bloc of influential NRM party honchos who vouched for her appointment as VP after she lost the Speakership, but some members said it would not argue well for party loyalists for the Fountain of Honour to reward an uncooperative member.
Ms Kadaga, seen as the flag holder for women, has served in various executive positions before, including as State Minister for Regional Cooperation, Communication and Aviation as well as for Parliamentary Affairs.
Her political future remains uncertain, although it appears likely President Museveni could be holding the key.
A no-holds-barred fighter of NRM’s Young Turks, Ms Anite is a close confidant of President Museveni, having gained his trust when she knelt at the National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi, in a dramatised plea for the President to stand for re-election. That 2014 incident, in which she also asked willing NRM members to sign a resolution to ringfence the presidential flagbearer slot for Mr Museveni, technically broke the back of the then premier Amama Mbabazi, who had hoped to run for president on NRM ticket. He stood for President in 2016 as an Independent.
The fire of Ms Anite, first elected as Northern Youth MP was blazing. Following a short stint as Youth minister, President Museveni redeployed her to head the State Minister for Investment and Privatisation portfolio under Finance.
There, she built a reputation of a warrior, fighting off political heavy weights such as outgoing ministers Mwesigwa Rukutana and Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire as well as the then Registrar General, Mr Twebaze Bemanya, over the privatisation of Uganda Telecom Ltd. However, aftershocks saw the defeated forces coalesce to dethrone her from Koboko Municipality parliament seat.