MBALE – Seeing what is happening in our society today, I recall the reasoning of our fore fathers of Jurisprudence Marx and Engel who asserted that laws in society are made to satisfy the desires, the needs, the aspirations, the egos and the will of those in power or the ruling class.
Provided a law is accepted as forming part of the laws that govern society, it does not matter whether that law is unfair until the same is amended, annulled or repealed.
Prior to releasing his yet to be cabinet, President Museveni had managed to convince his accomplices into approving an additional cabinet position to make the number 80 which is by far the second largest cabinet in Africa or may be the entire world. With the levels of poverty in this part of the world and given that the biggest part of our budget is always hinged on borrowing from world bank and the international monitory fund, this is one of the worst decisions for which history will find us guilty even without a hearing.
While outing his list, Museveni was invoking the authority conferred upon him by Articles: 108(2),108A(1), 113(1) and 114(1) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda which provides for the offices of the Vice President, Prime Minister, Honourable Cabinet Ministers and other Ministers. Indeed the list released complied with the cited provisions save for a number of offices and officers whose names were secretly smuggled onto the list outside the provisions of the 1995 constitution and the subsequent amendments.
I would like Ugandans to be mindful of the fact that while invoking the several provisions cited above, the President did not only release a list but an instrument duly sealed and signed and was intended to serve the purpose of a legal document. It is this same instrument that is sent to the Secretary to the Treasurer to have the names of the persons named in the instrument to be accorded certain privileges and to have their decision treated as binding Government. They are then gazzeted upon approval by Parliament.
A keen look at the list shows that it included officers of the NRM Secretariat, Senior Presidential advisers and a Special Envoy. These are not going to hold the office of Vice President, Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and don’t fall in the category of other Ministers yet by including their names and offices on the list means that they are given the treatment of the offices and the officers whose names are listed on the instrument. Let me break down the cited provisions of the 1995 constitution that the President relied on while releasing the list to the public.
Article 108(2) of the 1995 Constitution provides that the President shall, with the approval of Parliament by a simple majority, appoint a Vice President. Article 108A(1) of the 1995 Constitution as amended by The Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2005 provides that there shall be a Prime Minister who shall be appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament by simple majority from among members of Parliament or persons qualified to be elected members of Parliament.
Article 113(1) of the 1995 Constitution provides that Cabinet Ministers shall be appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament from among members of Parliament or persons qualified to be elected members of Parliament. Article 114(1) of the 1995 Constitution provides that the President may, with the approval of Parliament, appoint other Ministers to assist Cabinet Ministers in the performance of their functions.
Where did the President get the mandate to smuggle offices onto the list outside the foregoing cited provisions? Does the President of Uganda expect the tax payer to foot the costs of these other offices that are alien to the law?
Some Ministers will only hold offices but without authority to make decisions
The Tuesday announcement that the President of Uganda had named a new cabinet came with many new faces many of whom are women. Many were dropped and yet many others whose names never miss on the cabinet list like General Moses Ali, Janet Museveni, Chrizestom Muyingo, Frank Tumwebaze and Kahinda Otafiire were retained. Others were reshuffled and given new non-legal titles but under the same list as if they were ministers.
As usual, western region took the lion’s share with 29.6%, followed by Northern Uganda with 27.2%, Eastern region with 23.5% and Central regions with only 19.8%. Bugisu with five massive districts got only one cabinet slot for Karamoja and one other minister of state for Karamoja and another minister of state for the elderly. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think Bugisu got hot air for having “voted badly”. I think Museveni wanted the Bagisu to regret their decision.
Among the surprises was the appointment of Her Excellency Hon. Jessica Alupo who has been in a political limbo since 2016 general elections. She forms part of a long list of women on Museveni’s 6th term and I have no doubts in my mind she will deliver if given a chance. I hope this time round, the President will accord her real work to enable her put her energies to work since she is relatively young compared to her predecessors.
The new Prime Minister is Right Honourable Robinah Nabbanja who will also serve as the Leader of Government Business in Parliament. Never mind the remarks of my dear friend Semujju Nganda that even rubbish collectors would find it difficult to appoint Nabbanja as their Chief Executive Officer. For those of us who encountered Nabbanja when she was RDC Busia, we have no doubt she was a good choice, in my view, and given her practical ways of doing things, she will outsmart her predecessors.
Her biggest undoing is that she likes the lime light, she is emotional, she behaves like an under trained military officer, she likes to do things so that she is seen; she would do anything to impress the appointing authority. However, she will serve only one term and be discarded.
All Nabbanja’s three deputies including the former Speaker Rebecca Kadaga have been referred to as Honourable whether they are serving members of Parliament or not. One would have expected Kadaga to carry her former title of Right Honourable but that is not the title given to the first Deputy Prime Minster. If Kadaga accepts the position, she will be reporting directly to the Right Honorable Robinah Nabbanja and not to the President as has been the case. I get the feeling that Kadaga chose that docket which comes with the responsibility of Minister for East African Community Affairs for strategic reasons. This will help her keep away from Parliament under the pretext of handling East African issues.
The need to remain politically relevant has tamed Kadaga’s ego forcing her to accept the position of 1st Deputy Prime Minister. Kadaga’s previous portfolio as Speaker of Parliament came number three after the President and Vice President. According to the National Order of Precedence, the position of the 1st deputy Prime Minister lies in the 9th position meaning she was dropped six positions down the power hierarchy in the new Cabinet appointments. Was it a demotion or a promotion, I think the former is true but that is Museveni for you.
As is the norm, the real people who are going to steer the 6th term are not these ministers; the real people who will work with Museveni are about three cabinet ministers and about five others hidden among the ministers of state. Whereas the position of Prime Minister has been given to Nabbanja, the real substantive Prime Minister is Ndugu Ruhukana Rugunda who has been designated as a Special Envoy for Special Duties, Office of the President. When the word “Special” is used twice in the same title, it means there is an underlying secret.
Please take note that when Kadaga lost the Speakership position to Oulanyah, she also lost the title Right Honourable and is now being referred to as Honourable 1st Deputy Prime Minister. Has anyone bothered to find out why Ndugu Ruhukana Rugunda has moved with the title Right Honourable to his new docket as Special Envoy which title is a preserve of the Prime Minister, Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice?
Even Senior Presidential advisers don’t fall in the category of other ministers. I don’t even know why they are being referred to as honorable yet all of them are not sitting members of Parliament and are not holding cabinet positions.
Even the category for NRM Secretariat who include Richard Todwong who was appointed Secretary General deputized by Rose Namayanja and Oundo Nekesa who was appointed National Treasurer of the NRM Party are not sitting members of Parliament. I also don’t know why the instrument referred to them as honourable. It is wrong to mix issues of the party with those of the nation.
The power to hire and fire, a lesson for the opposition Members in bed with NRM.
With the exception of a traitor as FDC referred to her, Betty Anywar was the only former opposition member who bounced back as a minister not withstanding that she was defeated as a woman MP Kitgum District. The likes of Betty Kamya, Nakiwala Florence Kiyingi and Kanyike Sarah were dropped. Surely one wonders why Joyce Sebugwawo is joining the sinking ship aware that her decision is the final nail on her political coffin. I wonder if FDC will retain her in their leadership ranks. Betty Kamya who once promised to deliver Kampala to Museveni is gone with a consolation of an adviser. Her political party the Uganda Federal Alliance will never see light of day again.
Sarah Kanyike had a blossoming future at KCCA and was slowly but surely climbing the ladders. Like Sebugwawo, she sacrificed her political future to become a minister for about 6 months. Now she has been dumped and included on the list of rejects called Presidential advisors who never get the chance to advise the President on anything. Instead it is the President who advises his advisers.
Roger Wadada Musaalo is a Lawyer, human rights activist, researcher, and politician