Why ‘watchwoman’ Nabanja and other women have eaten ‘fat frog’ in new cabinet list…
Cabinet list finally emerged from President Yoweri Museveni’s briefcase!
After negotiating with NRM caucus for an additional minister of state slot, Museveni released the long awaited cabinet list.
The cabinet list unlike the previous ones has a long list of women, surprising of them all is the Prime Minister Robinah Nabanja.
Others on the cabinet list are; Jessica Alupo Vice President, Rebecca Kadaga 1stDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs, Lukia Nakadama 3rd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister without Port-folio, Janet Kataaha Minister of Education and Sports, Mariam Dhoka Minister, Office of the President (Presidency);
Dr. Musenero Monica Minister, Office of the President Serviced by the State House; Comptroller, in charge of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hajati Misi Kabanda Minister for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs; Kasule Lumumba Minister, Office of the Prime Minister (General Duties);
Maria Goretti Kitutu Minister for Karamoja Affairs; Ruth Nankabirwa Minister of Energy and Minerals Development; Betty Amongi Minister of Gender, Labour And Social Development, Jane Aceng Minister of Health; Judith Nabakoba Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
Robinah Nabanja and Ruth Aceng alongside Diana Atwine did an amazing job at the earliest stage of the Covid-19, helping the country maintain low cases. Their performance helped the appointing authority enjoy welcoming appearances on the national media. While many were on panic mode on whether or not they had a shot at the cabinet list, it was likely Nabanja and Aceng were obvious choices. It was a question where they were going to be deployed.
Robinah Nabanja is the least of names anybody would have guessed for the huge office of the Prime Minister compare with the previous names. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Amama Mbabazi, Appolo Nsibambi, Cosmos Adyebo, Kintu Musoke, Dr. Samson Kisekka had clout around them. Nabanja is the first woman to assume this office since Uganda’s Independence in 1962. She comes from a humble background of serving as a teacher before assuming political office with little experience. She served as the State Minister of Health for General Duties, since 14 December 2019. She is serving her second term as the elected Member of Parliament for Kakumiro District Women Constituency in Parliament.
Hardworking and motherly Nabanja
The 51, year old teacher by profession is one of the women who orchestrated the successful fight against the deadly Covid-19 when it hit the country in 2020. Nabanja turned out a hard working and hands on minister in her major test. She appeared on TV combing every area suspected to have a Covid-19 case and ensuring the medical facilities in the area were up to the task. Nabanja traversed the entire country during the early stages of the pandemic. Be it Entebbe, Mutukula in the Tanzania border, Nimuli in the North, Kasese, Kyotera and Kitgum, she showed up.
Her appointment may come as a surprise package but she surely will come out a champion in her new role. No doubt opposition strongman Odongo Otto had warning for cabinet on her appointment.
Otto tweeted: “Make no mistake the choice of Hon. Nabbanja as Premier is no joke.Acting more often as a “semi literate village bele” Hon.Nabanja is a woman of action she will even remove food from a ministers mouth if one is eating during work hours. Finally the ministers have got a watchwoman!”
The yellow girls brigade
At the peak of the events in Parliament which included the beating of opposition MPs, Kadaga-Jacob Olanyah squabbles and the closing days to elections, the political atmosphere in the house was heated. Parliament turned into a playground for politics. With Olanyah out of the picture, NRM and the President felt they were being outdone by the vocal opposition legislators. The clique of Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, Joseph Ssewungu and Muhammad Nsereko among others pushed the Kadaga agenda against Olanyah and the President. NRM and the President needed their own to rise up against them. Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa and Margaret Muhanga rose up to the plate to fill the vacuum by organising their own group to fend off the negative politics. One of the agendas being that of Kadaga being hailed by a group of MPs for steering Parliament during Covid-19. Nankabirwa and her group countered by organising the following day the honouring of President Museveni for championing the fight against Covid-19. Attempts to have Kadaga merged with the President were repulsed by the Chief and her group. The return of the chief whip even after defeat and Muhanga’s appointment to cabinet, says it all.
Olanyah v Kadaga
NRM needed numbers against Kadaga. And they needed everyone from within and without the party to clinch it. Betty Amongi, Anitah Among, Muhanga and Nankabirwa were very vital in ensuring they mobilised members the entire night to cast their votes in favour of Olanyah. Muhanga confessed when she appeared on UBC TV they had sleepless night to make sure they called MPs that had showed clearly they were going to vote for Kadaga. Maurice Kibalye and Peter Mugeme had camped with opposition led by Asuman Basalirwa to bring as many legislators to their side. The open confessions by the likes of Nankabirwa, Muhanga, Among and Amongi clearly helped the NRM cause. It is no surprise the trio were rewarded with ministerial positions.
Hardworking & Corruption free
Women have convinced President Museveni in his appointments (cabinet list). Allen Kagina, Jennifer Musisi, Evelyn Anite, Judith Nabakoba, Nabanja and Ruth Aceng have all come out outstanding in their dockets. During his inauguration, the President stood his ground to get to the bottom of corruption in this term. He has talked highly about women and how they can ably tackle the vice of corruption. And among his strategies is to appoint more women to (cabinet list) to do the job. Indeed he has appointed 14 women to senior cabinet positions.
Anite and Nabakoba have been vocal in their dockets. Not just going about their work but also speaking on behalf of the party they serve where necessary. Anite has been outstanding in her investment docket and her relationship with investors has seen her returned to cabinet.
Nabakoka was pivotal during the fight against Covid-19. Her ministry worked well with the Health ministry to ensure public alerts went out.
Museveni on Heroes Day hailed her: “I appointed Judith Nabakooba to the lands ministry because she was active in issues of land. That girl fought land grabbers in Mityana and was on the side of the people. I know she will do a good job there.”
Kasule Lumumba, Anitah Among, Nankabirwa and Muhanga have been hailed for a massive job done at the party level. Other than Buganda region, the election results showed NRM enjoyed victories in most parts of the country at the local council, Parliament and Presidential level. President M7 has now gone ahead to bring some of the leaders closer to him and kept some. Lumumba and Muhanga are the two that M7 has now called to join cabinet.
Award winning journalist and writer who has worked as a stringer for a couple of acclaimed South Africa based German journalists, covered 3 Ugandan elections, 2008 Kenya election crisis, with interests in business and sports reporting.