The Appointments Committee of Parliament has vetted the nine new ministers nominated by the President during a Cabinet reshuffle in December 2019.
The Constitution provides that Cabinet and other or state 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.
Parliament Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, chaired the Committee on Appointments sitting on Friday 3 January 2020, the first meeting of any committee of the House or plenary in the new year.
Although the President made several changes in the reshuffle, it is only the persons new to the Cabinet that were required to appear before the House Committee as the others got their approval when they were first nominated.
On Friday, the Committee interfaced with:
• Hon. Robinah Nabbanja (Kakumiro district) and Hon. Peter Ogwang (Usuk), who have both been Parliamentary Commissioners, who were nominated as State Ministers for Health (General Duties) and ICT and National Guidance respectively.
“I’m ready to work with the journalists and ask government to provide information to the country. Specifically on the areas of innovations in ICT we have to move the country to the next level of technology,” Ogwang said.
• Hon. Denis Hamson Obua (Ajuri), a former Parliamentary Commissioner, was given the State for Sports docket. He said that the task ahead of him would be to get to know the different sports federations that he will be in charge of.
“I would have to move to all the federations so as to understand and appreciate the environment in which they are working,” he said adding that “I will also tour all sports facilities both national and regional in order to appreciate their predicaments, their conditions and situations, interact with the respective local governments to get the way forward.”
• Hon Judith Nabakooba (Mityana district), who was nominated the Minister of Information Communication Technology and National Guidance, was formerly the Chairperson Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs in Parliament, and also served as a Police spokesperson.
• Hon. Raphael Magezi (Igara West) nominated the Minister of Local Government. As a private member, he successfully moved a Constitution (Amendment) Bill that lifted age limits for presidential candidates. Hon. Jackson Kafuuzi (Kyaka South), who was one of the seconders of the Bill, was nominated the Deputy Attorney General.
• Hon. Beatrice Anywar (Ind., Kitgum Munic.), who was nominated the Minister of State for Environment, formerly belonged to the Opposition, where she was a strong environmental advocate.
• Hon. Hellen Adoa (Serere district) was nominated to the position of Minister of State for Fisheries.
• Hon. Molly Kamukama, who was nominated to become the Minister of State for Economic Monitoring was the Principal Private Secretary to the President.
One of the newly appointed minister of health Robinah Nabanja has expressed optimism that she would be cleared by parliament.
The Minister of State of Environment, Beatrice Anywar scoffed at members of the opposition who have criticized her appointment as Minister, saying she did not betray the opposition but it was just time for her to move on.
Anywar made the remarks on Friday, January 3 while addressing journalists at Parliament following her vetting before the Parliamentary Appointments Committee.
Asked by journalists on allegations that her appointment symbolizes betrayal to the opposition, having been a member of the FDC, she rubbished the claims saying she accomplished her mission in the opposition and it was time for her to move on.
Anywar said, “There is no permanent enemy in politics. At that time as my President, we (Kiiza Besigye) got along and along the way we disagreed, if one can divorce and throw away the ring, what about a party? To ask if I regret leaving the opposition, I don’t regret anything. Everything has its time. To say I betrayed, betrayed who and for what? I have never been bond with any party and there is no ring to that effect.”
She said that her appointment to the environmental ministerial docket is in recognition for her fight to save the environment in Uganda and vowed to take the same fight to the cabinet.
Newly appointed Minister of Local Government Raphael Magyezi says he is the ‘right person’ for the job.
Magyezi who is the Igara West Member of Parliament was speaking immediately after appearing before the Parliamentary Appointments Committee for vetting on Friday. The Parliamentary Appointments Committee is chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
The Minister refuted claims by some members of opposition that his appointment was a token of appreciation for his role in the 2017 Constitutional amendment which removed age limit for presidential candidates.
“Did these other ministers bring a bill to parliament? I want to believe that the President appointed me on merit, he believes I am competent enough to become minister for Local Government,” he said.
“It is therefore wrong to think that if it wasn’t for the Bill [age limit bill] then I would not be minister. I am educated and have been in Local government for 26 years, served as chairperson of committee on Local Government, so I qualify with or without the bill on age limit.” Magyezi observed.
He said that upon his approval, he will focus on lobbying for adequate funds for the local government units other than creating new constituencies. Magyezi’s appointment comes at a time when Parliament is discussing operationalization of proposed cities that include; Arua, Mbarara, Gulu, Jinja, Fort Portal, Mbale, Masaka, Wakiso, Entebbe, Hoima, Lira, Moroto, Nakasongola, Soroti and Kabale.
Magyezi is one of the new Ministers appointed by President Yoweri Museveni in the recent cabinet reshuffle. Others are; former Police Spokesperson Judith Nabakooba, who was appointed ICT Minister, State Minister for Sports Hamson Obua and State Minister for ICT Peter Ogwang among others.