Joy Kabatsi Ministerial Appointment Hangs in Balance

The Parliament Appointments Committee has been petitioned to block the appointment of Joy Kabatsi as the State Minister for Animal Industry.

A one John Bosco A., ask a resident of Kasubi, Kampala, says Kabatsi is not fit to serve as a minister due to his alleged involvement in corruption deals. Kabatsi was sacked as head of State House Legal Department in March 2012 by President Museveni for approving an exorbitant compensation payout to city businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba.

In a March 4, 2012 letter to Mr John Mitala, the head of Public Service, the President complained that the legal team misled him either intentionally or because it never carried out adequate research, and directed “immediate termination” of Ms Kabatsi’s services.

In the letter, Museveni accused her and sacked colleague, Mr Edward Muhoozi, of drafting for him a letter on Mr Basajjabalaba’s compensation that looked “innocuous on the surface, but was used by others as part of a bigger conspiracy” to cause Shs142b loss to government.

Former Finance Minister Syda Bbumba and ex-Attorney General, Prof. Khiddu Makubuya, whose signatures in some way allegedly helped clear the Basajjabalaba’s pay, were forced to resign.

According to the petition dated June 10, by causing a staggering Shs 142bn loss, Kabatsi “abused her authority to defraud the taxpayer” and that, “It is the duty of the appointments committee to select ministers of good reputation.”

The petitioner submitted that endorsing Kabatsi would tantamount to allowing her “walk through members’ mind with dirty feet.” He further argues that Kabatsi’s appointment in Cabinet “would be a slap in the face of decent Ugandan taxpayers. It also would imply rewarding of incompetence and fraud.”

Kabatsi denied the allegations, saying she was a victim of witch-hunt. She further blamed intrigue in State House for her woes.


However the petitioner argues that appointing Kabatsi in Cabinet would mean “sacrificing decency and professionalism at the altar of political expediency,” adding, “If Kabatsi could use her office at State House to cause the taxpayer a Shs 142bn loss, how can Ugandans trust him with a bigger office of State Minister?”

Kabatsi is a prominent commercial dairy farmer in Sembabule. She has never been convicted for corruption. The petitioner said after the staggering fraud, condemned by the president himself, Kabatsi has never apologised for her actions.

“Her unrepentant character proves her failure to realise her mistakes which would obviously repeat,” the petition reads in part. “Her appointment sends a wrong signal about the Parliament’s commitment to fight corruption and uphold integrity of the executive. Endorsing her appointment defeats the purpose of the war on corruption. It rewards selfishness and impunity.” Vetting of Ministers starts tomorrow Tuesday at Parliament.


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