Cabinet: Buganda, Ankole to lose out

This is an old article but very usefully to understand the picture of Uganda, so in the fulture recognizing Ankole will given more advantages for the balance of Politicts here in the Country (MYR Agung Sidayu)
Written by Edris Kiggundu


Buganda, western and parts of eastern Uganda are likely to be the biggest losers when a new cabinet list is announced by President Museveni later this month or early May.

The President has been meeting delegations from different parts of the country at his Rwakitura country home, as he tries to delicately balance regional, religious, political, ethnic and gender interests in his much anticipated fourth term cabinet.

Roughly 90% (61 out of 71 ministers) of the individuals currently in cabinet hail from at least one of the three regions (central/Buganda, western and eastern – mainly Busoga), leaving northern Uganda (Karamoja, Acholi, Lango and West Nile) to share only 10 ministerial positions – of which only two (Omara Atubo and Hilary Onek) are full cabinet ministers (see list).

The western region takes the lion’s share, with 26 cabinet slots (eight of which are full cabinet slots), followed by the eastern region with 22 slots, while the central region (Buganda) holds 15 positions, half of them full cabinet ministers.

Early this week, it was reported that the new cabinet will have an additional six new ministerial positions. It was also reported that Dr Beatrice Wabudeya, the minister in charge of the Presidency, has been temporarily placed in charge of the newly created portfolio of Kampala City.

Other new ministries expected to be created include that of Oil, Teso Affairs and Bunyoro Affairs. In addition, the ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs shall be split into two, a proposal endorsed by cabinet last year.

The creation of the new ministries shall provide more options to the President, but it will not ease the job of satisfying all individuals and interested parties, because the slots remain very few.


Previously, the President has unapologetically picked his cabinet on the basis of political support. The areas from which he scooped most votes got the lion’s share of ministerial positions. That is why western Uganda, Buganda and Busoga have had the most ministers.

However, the last elections have been different in the sense that all sub-regions voted for him, including previously hostile ones such as Acholi, Lango, Teso and West Nile. Therefore, northern Uganda is likely to reap big from its change of heart. In a way, Museveni owes his 68% victory – up from 59% in 2006 – to northern Uganda.

Museveni’s performance in Acholi shot up to 54%, compared to the 16% he got there in 2006. In West Nile, NRM got 42% of the vote in 2006 while in the last election, the ruling party scored 65%. In Lango, Museveni scored 46%, a big improvement from the 28% of 2006.

Because of this improved performance, political observers expect this region to have more faces in the next cabinet. Indeed, The Observer has been told that lobbying is in high gear. Over the weekend, during holy mass to celebrate the parliamentary victory of Fred Omach, MP for Jonam county in Nebbi district, speaker after speaker urged Museveni to appoint this son of the soil to a big post in cabinet.

As minister of state for Finance in charge of General Duties, Omach has performed well, particularly in defending positions or decisions of the ministry on the floor of Parliament in the absence of his senior colleagues. Other individuals from northern Uganda who are expected to eat big include: Betty Bigombe, the Amuru Woman MP; Alex Onzima, the MP for Maracha who defected from the FDC last year; and Jacob Oulanyah, a former UPC supporter who Museveni described as ministerial material when he campaigned in Omoro last year.

Richard Todwong, Museveni’s advisor on northern Uganda, who defeated FDC’s Simon Tolit in Nwoya, could also find his way in. Similarly, we could see a comeback for Moses Ali, the burly former deputy Prime Minister, who regained his Moyo East seat. Rebecca Atengo (Woman MP Alebtong), and possibly Sam Engola (Oyam South) could join cabinet, while Museveni could elevate politicians such as Okello Henry Oryem, who defeated UPC strongman Livingstone Okello Okello, in Chua County, from junior to full minister.


In terms of population, eastern Uganda has two major sub-regions: Busoga and Teso. Teso currently has three ministers, compared to Busoga with eight. This, coupled with Teso’s decision to embrace NRM in this year’s elections, sets the region in a favourable position to capture more ministerial positions in the new cabinet.

At the moment Teso is represented in cabinet by Jeje Odongo, Musa Ecweru and Jessica Alupo – all ministers of state. It is likely that Museveni will appoint a full cabinet minister from the sub-region, simultaneously fulfilling his campaign pledge of granting it a special ministry. Some analysts believe such a ministry could go to Capt Mike Mukula, the NRM Vice Chairman for Eastern Uganda, who reclaimed his Soroti municipality seat.


Yet, for northern Uganda and Teso to cash in, Museveni will have to reduce on the number of cabinet slots held by central, western Uganda and parts of eastern Uganda, where his support did not necessarily decline.

For instance, Busoga, where five out of the eight ministers (Kirunda Kivejinja, Isaac Musumba, Asuman Kiyingi, Gaggawala Wambuzi and Henry Bagiire) lost the parliamentary elections, could lose some positions. In Bugisu, where Museveni won comfortably, but also where the opposition made some gains – especially in Mbale and Sironko – the status quo is likely to remain. This sub-region has three ministers.

As for Ankole and Kigezi, the President will be forced to reduce on the number of ministerial slots currently held by politicians from the two sub-regions. Out of the 25 ministerial jobs held by western Uganda, 18 are shared between Ankole and Kigezi (see table).

The President’s task will be made easier, given that a number of his ministers from the region lost the elections. These include Hope Mwesigye and Serapio Rukundo. Others had even lost the NRM primaries before being trounced as independent candidates. These include James Nsaba Buturo, who resigned a couple of weeks ago; and Urban Tibamanya.

Another category is that of ministers who lost the primaries but never sought reelection as independent candidates. These are Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu and Dr Richard Nduhura.

On the other hand, Bunyoro could see its cabinet share rise from the current three ministers, following the creation of a new ministry. Buganda, which currently has 15 cabinet positions, including that of vice president and prime minister, is likely to share the fate of Ankole-Kigezi. In fact, there is a likelihood of one of the two positions going to northern Uganda.

Just like in Ankole and Kigezi, President Museveni will be forced to drop a few faces from Buganda in order to be able to accommodate his newfound political allies in northern Uganda and Teso. Politicians who lost the elections, such as Education minister Namirembe Bitamazire and Alintuma Nsambu, will be easy targets.

Regional distribution of the current cabinet

Western Uganda

  • Eriya Kategaya (1 DPM, East African Community Affairs)
  • Henry Kajura (2DPM, Public Service)
  • John Nasasira (Works)
  • Crispus Kiyonga (Defence)
  • Adolf Mwesige (Local Government)
  • Janet Museveni (State, Karamoja)
  • Amama Mbabazi (Security)
  • Kahinda Otafiire (Trade & Industry)
  • Tarsis Kabwegyere (Relief & Disaster Preparedness)
  • Mwesigwa Rukutana (State, Higher Education)
  • Kamanda Bataringaya (State, Primary Education)
  • Hope Mwesigye (Agriculture)
  • Serapio Rukundo (State, Tourism)
  • Fred Ruhindi (Deputy AG)
  • Kabakumba Matsiko (State, Information)
  • Urban Tibamanya (State, Urban Planning)
  • Perez Ahabwe (State, Local Government)
  • Aston Kajara (State, Investment)
  • Nsaba Buturo (State, Ethics)
  • John Byabagambi (State, Works)
  • Ssezi Mbaguta (State, Public Service)
  • Bright Rwamirama (State, Agriculture)
  • Ephraim Kamuntu  (State, Planning)
  • Richard Nduhura (State, Health)
  • Matia Kasaija (State, Internal  Affairs)


  • Gilbert Bukenya  (Vice President)
  • Apolo Nsibambi (Prime Minister)
  • Maria Mutagamba (Water and Environment)
  • Namirembe Bitamazire (Education and Sports)
  • Syda Bbumba (Finance)
  • Sam Kutesa (Foreign Affairs)
  • Janat Mukwaya (State, OPM)
  • Khiddu Makubuya (Attorney General/Justice)
  • Charles Bakkabulindi (State, Sports)
  • James Kakooza (State, Health)
  • Alintuma Nsambu (State, ICT)
  • Suleiman Madada (State, PWDs)
  • Ruth Nankabirwa (State, Microfinance)
  • Nyombi Thembo (State, Luwero)
  • Vincent Nyanzi (State, Economic Monitoring)


  • Omara Atubo (Lands)
  • Hillary Onek (Energy)
  • Fred Omach (State, Finance)
  • Simon Ejua (State, Transport)
  • Peter Lokeris (State, Minerals)
  • Jessica Eriyo (State, Environment)
  • Simon D’ujanga (State, Energy)
  • Simon Lokodo (State, Industry)
  • James Baba (State, Vice President’s office)
  • Okello Oryem (State, International Affairs)


  • Stephen Mallinga (Health)
  • Kirunda Kivejinja (3 DPM, Internal Affairs)
  • Daudi Migereko (Chief Whip)
  • Beatrice Wabudeya (Presidency)
  • Dorothy Hyuha (Without Portfolio)
  • Aggrey Awori (ICT)
  • Gabriel Opio (Gender and Labour)
  • Asuman Kiyingi (State, Lands)
  • Henry Bagiire (State, Agriculture)
  • Fred Mukisa (State, Fisheries)
  • Isaac Musumba (State, Regional Cooperation)
  • Jeje Odongo (State, Defence)
  • Jessica Alupo (State,  Youth)
  • Rukia Nakadama (State, Gender & Labour)
  • Rukia Chekamondo (State, Privatization)
  • Werikhe Kafabusa (State, Housing)
  • David Wakikona (State, Northern Uganda)
  • Jennifer Namuyangu (State, Water)
  • Nelson Gaggawala (State, Trade)
  • Musa Ecweru (State, Disaster Preparedness)
  • Otaala Emmanuel (State, Labour)

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