Analysis: Will Museveni Retain Elderly Ministers In New Cabinet?

President Museveni has urged Cabinet ministers to be serious on service delivery

President Yoweri Museveni is making final touches on his new cabinet, clinic with officials revealing that his elderly friends could retain ministerial positions.

Sources told ChimpReports that while Museveni would have preferred to have a leaner cabinet with young and energetic Ministers, pharmacy Public Service Minister Muganwa Kajura, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, Eng John Nasasira, Gen Moses Ali, Kirunda Kivejinja and Sam Kutesa will stay around.

For Kajura’s case, an insider said “It will be Kajura to tell Museveni that he is retiring. Otherwise, Kajura is still around.”

One of the main reasons why Museveni has kept Kajura for long is that he hails from an influential, wealthy and deep-rooted Catholic family.

The Kajura family has had an enormous impact on thousands of lives in Bunyoro.

Kajura’s brother, Deogratius Byabazaire Abwooli was the Bishop of Hoima Catholic Diocese until his death in 2014 at Nsambya Hospital. The Man of God also served as Chief Justice of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.

At the time of his death, Byabazaire was paying school fees for over 300 students in higher institutions of learning. Most of these students were at St. Andrew Kaahwa’s College, a Catholic-founded secondary school near Bujumbura Cathedral.

The Bishop’s burial ceremony was graced by top leaders in the Catholic Church led Cardinal Emmanuel Nsubuga and Kampala Archbishop, Dr Cyprian Lwanga.

Kajura’s brothers are serving in high positions in the Catholic Church. With Kajura on his side, Museveni continues to have considerable influence not only in the Catholic Church but also in Bunyoro.

Kahinda Otafiire

Museveni met Kahinda Otafiire at a time when he was engaged in guerrilla activities aimed at toppling the regime of Presidents Idi Amin and Milton Obote.

Otafiire, a controversial general served both in the military and political wings of the NRA movement.

He belonged to old FRONASA group which included Eriya Kategaya (RIP), Amanya Mushega, Ruhakana Rugunda, Maumbe Mukhwana, Haruna Kibuye (RIP) and Abwooli Malibo (RIP).

Others include Amama Mbabazi, James Birihanze, Kahunga Bagira, Augustine Ruzindana, Salim Saleh, Fred Rwigema, Ivan Koreta, Chefe Ali, Chango Machyo, Sam Njuba and Sam Katabarwa.

While Otafiire lost his MP seat to Donozio Kahonda, Museveni is likely to keep the former in Cabinet due to their old friendship that spans almost half a century.

Unlike other NRA leaders who have crossed to the opposition, Otafiire has always kept on Museveni’s side – a sign of loyalty. The same applies to Information Minister Gen Jim Muhwezi.

Sacking Otafiire, who was at the frontline of fighting Amama Mbabazi in the recently concluded elections, would give ammunition to opposition to accuse Museveni of ‘using and dumping’ his comrades.

And being a popular figure with a huge appetite for lucrative business deals, Otafiire would as well not look on idly if Museveni chose to remove him from Cabinet.

With Dr Kizza Besigye and Amama Mbabazi giving Museveni sleepless nights in their quest for power, the president would not risk allowing the politically-charged Otafiire to join their ranks.

Salim Saleh

For some time, there has been talk that President Museveni will appoint his brother and NRA war hero Gen Salim Saleh as Kampala Minister.

Sources say the Kampala Metropolitan Authority is being formed to transform the city.

One of the members of the new Authority is Caleb Kakuyo, the former Commercial Officer, National Housing and Construction Corporation and brother to Uganda National Roads Authority boss, Allen Kagina.

It is widely held that Saleh will work closely with this team to draw and implement masterplans for the redevelopment of Kampala, Mukono, Entebbe and Wakiso.


It was not until recently that ICT Minister John Nasasira’s health improved considerably. Following an accident in India, many thought Nasasira’s life was in danger.

He even retired from active politics – relinquishing his Kazo Constituency MP post which he had occupied for about 30 years.

At the recent Northern Corridor Summit, Nasasira was praised by fellow regional ministers for being steadfast, impartiality and thoughtful while chairing crucial infrastructure meetings.

Apart from being extraordinarily intelligent, Eng Nasasira is a workaholic, leaving office late and arriving at work by 7:00am.

Nasasira presided over the construction of many national roads but the poor quality of some tainted his legacy.

The road sector was also marred by unprecedented levels of corruption and many believe he did not do much to promote transparency.

Nasasira recently organised a thanksgiving ceremony for his successful political career and flourishing family life.

Should Nasasira opt to continue serving in Cabinet, there is a likelihood Museveni will keep him around.

Dr Ruhakana Rugunda

When President Idi Amin seized power, Museveni met with Rugunda at Makerere University. Museveni, who had served as an intelligence officer in Obote’s office, said he would participate in a guerrilla war to remove the Dictator.

The relationship between Museveni and Rugunda grew stronger as the latter mobilised support for the NRA rebellion until it took power. Since then, Rugunda has served as Minister of ICT, Internal Affairs, Health and Prime Minister.

Rugunda also refused to support his childhood friend Amama Mbabazi’s presidential bid in the recent election, a crucial test of loyalty.

He is ‘Mr Clean’ and boasts deep connections in the international community. Sources say Rugunda could stay as Prime Minister.

Crispus Kiyonga

The all powerful Defence Minister was the only candidate elected on Museveni’s UPM ticket in the 1980 elections.

This political miracle created a strong bond between Kiyonga and Museveni.

A graduate of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) at Makerere University, Kiyonga has served as Minister of; Cooperatives & Marketing; Internal Affairs; and Health.

Sources say Museveni relates well with Kiyonga’s age group as the historicals are more reliable and can easily read his mind.

“This gives Museveni a sense of comfort – with minimal suspicions of betrayal,” said an insider.

Unfortunately, Kiyonga recently underwent three medical operations, blowing the lid off his precarious health condition.

Museveni has in recent years not fired or relieved any minister of their duties over health concerns. This leaves no doubt that Kiyonga is staying in Cabinet.

Sam Kutesa

Since Museveni captured power, a special ally and friend has always had his back.

Kutesa, who is considered the wealthiest businessman in Museveni’s cabinet, has been serving as the Foreign Affairs Minister – a position he has held since 13 January 2005 and maintained through two cabinet reshuffles.

For starters, the Foreign Affairs Ministry does not conduct only diplomatic missions but also espionage. Kutesa has been at the centre of sensitive diplomatic and international security missions on behalf of Uganda.

It was during Kutesa’s reign that Uganda’s relations with Rwanda were normalised after years of tension and military clashes. Over time, Kutesa has managed to lobby international figures to promote Uganda’s interests especially in tourism and investment.

But most importantly, Kutesa is a renowned fundraiser for NRM activities especially during elections campaigns. He is staying in Cabinet.


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