By Musasizi Isaac and URN
Kampala. In yet another abuse to public resources and the constitution, President Yoweri Museveni revealed on Monday that his new cabinet team shall consist of 80 people including full and state ministers, away from the legal line up of only 21 people.
Museveni’s revelation came as he addressed his National Resistance Movement (NRM) parliamentary caucus at Kololo independence grounds.
“The present lineup is 79 including the Vice President. I just want to add one State Minister for some reasons I will give later,” Museveni proposed to members of the National Resistance Movement –NRM Caucus at Kololo Independence Grounds. They unanimously approved his suggestion.
In a leaked cabinet list, the leader of government business and Prime is expected to be former Kiboga District Woman MP Ruth Nankabirwa. The vice President will be State House Comptroller Lucy Nakyobe. Former NRM Renegade who also served as Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has also been named but with no specific ministry.
The cabinet will have new faces including Makerere University don Ramadhan Goobi who is expected to be the finance minister. Conspicuously missing is Foreign affairs minister Sam Kuteesa who will be replaced by Adonia Ayebare. The Local Government ministry will be taken by Atim Agnes from Tom Butime. Trade minster formerly occupied by Amelia Kyambade will be taken over by Margret Muhanga yet the Gender ministry will be headed by Jessica Alupo.
Other old faces on the list include First Lady Janat Museveni who will reportedly retain the ministry of Education. Former Finance minister Matia Kasaija will be moved to the ministry of General duties, Judith Nabakooba from Information and National Guidance moves to the ministry in charge of Kampala and Frank Tumwebaza from Gender becomes the NRM Chief Whip.
No Ministries are yet named for Betty Amongin, Thomas Tayebwa and David Bahati although their names appear on the list. Former Prime Minister Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda becomes the NRM secretary General and Evelyne Anite will move to the ministry of Tourism.
The dissolved cabinet had a total of 79 Ministers, out of which 29 were Ministers while 50 were State Ministers. Article 113 (2) allows only 21 Cabinet ministers but can be extended with approval from parliament.
During the caucus meeting, Oscar Kihika, the Director of Legal Services at the NRM Secretariat guided that the procedure of varying the Cabinet number would require the President to first propose the names of the Vice President and Prime Minister which would then be presented to parliament for vetting.
“Thereafter, the two individuals would then be sworn in so that they take office. That would then enable the Prime Minister, having taken office to come to parliament and propose the number of the rest of the cabinet members as you would have elected,” said Kihika.
According to Kihika, parliament’s approval of the proposed number of Ministers would then pave way for the president to release names of those appointed Ministers and to be vetted by parliament.
Museveni said that he would very soon name the Vice President and Prime Minister as guided and later a list for Ministers. He appealed to the NRM Parliamentary caucus to support the proposed new number when a motion is finally presented on the floor of parliament.
The opposition in Parliament has in the past objected to a big parliament and a recent Bill presented by the former Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba in the Tenth Parliament suggested reducing the size of Cabinet to about 40 Ministers (21 Cabinet Ministers and 21 State Ministers) in order to reduce the public expenditure.
However, this Opposition sponsored Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2019 was among the business that the Tenth Parliament left pending.
Meanwhile, President Museveni appealed to the NRM party MPS to desist from forming factions saying that these are not good for the ruling party since they don’t add any value. Giving an example of the recent Speakership campaign and election, Museveni congratulated the legislators for heeding to his call, also noting that no one would be victimized after this process.
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