Even a Shadow Cabinet Causes Controversy in Uganda
FDC leaders Augustine Ruzindana, Beti Kamya and Reagan Okumu consult each other at a rally. Their party is facing internal rivalry.

Even a Shadow Cabinet Causes Controversy in Uganda

Outspoken Aruu county MP, Odonga Otto of FDC, on Monday threatened to expose "dirt" in the party...

By Gerald Rulekere
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First published: June 21, 2006

Ugandans' love for ministerial positions continues to show its strong gene as several MPs from the leading opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), are promising a showdown within the party because they were not appointed as ministers.

The leader of the opposition, Prof Ogenga Latigo, who is also FDCs Deputy President for Northern Uganda, on Monday announced a 21 member shadow cabinet as required by the new multi-party dispensation Uganda has just adopted. The members of the shadow cabinet are supposed to propose alternative policies and views to those of the respective government cabinet ministries.

Like in the eagerly anticipated announcement of the ruling government cabinet, the names of the shadow cabinet, which had delayed to come, have been announced, generating dissatisfaction from different circles that were not appointed or represented in the shadow cabinet. Surprisingly, the biggest noise is coming from the FDC MPs (the party had to chose the shadow cabinet and lead the opposition since they got more seats in parliament than any opposition party) some of who are breathing fire for being excluded from the shadow cabinet announced by Prof. Latigo.

Outspoken Aruu county MP, Odonga Otto says the FCD leadership has sidelined some party members and interests. Otto on Monday threatened to expose "dirt" in the party that will be detrimental to the FDC, which he said is now more "undemocratic than the ruling NRM", unless "the FDC leadership changes."

"I have survived Kony rebels so exposing intrigue in the party is very easy," he said on Monday. The MP says he has suffered a lot because of the party but he has been sidelined and not included in the shadow cabinet.

Kyadongo West MP, Susan Nakawuki says they are unhappy that many FDC MPs have not been given positions on the shadow cabinet because they were considered to be "too young." The 23-year old directly elected MP says the party is treating being a young MP as crime, yet the electorate found confidence in them and elected them to the legislature.

However Tororo MP, Geoffrey Ekanya, also an FDC MP, says his fellow MPs should take their grievances to the party leadership in order to avoid further controversies, which will injure the image of the two year old party and its popular leader, Dr. Kiza Besigye who must be uncomfortable in his rest from the two cases he is facing in the court.

Prof. Latigo says no group of MPs has been sidelined, but the party's National Executive Committee approved the appointments of people who will best serve the purpose of the positions of the shadow cabinet. Latigo says the criteria used for selection was based on confidence, regional and gender balance as well as the inclusion of independents willing to work with the opposition.

"We wanted a united opposition cabinet, and we chose members from across all opposition parties. We also considered regional balance. The other factor was women. Our constitution obliges us to give at least 40% of leadership positions at any level to women. It is unfair for the MPs to complain about not being appointed because there are only 21 positions. Even then, those MPs should have complained in the National Executive Committee, which they attended instead of coming to the press. Not every FDC MP can be in the cabinet," Prof. Latigo says. He said the party would make all efforts to resolve the matter and work together as a united party and united opposition.

This is the fist litmus test for the man who represents Agago in the 8th Parliament as the leader of the opposition, as he is tasked with keeping unity and order in the opposition in this first multi-party parliament in Uganda in more than 20 years.

  • FDC's Christopher Kibazanga has been appointed Minister for Presidency and anti corruption.
  • Kampala Central Member of Parliament (DP) Erias Lukwago is the Attorney General/Justice and constitutional affairs.
  • Kampala district woman MP (FDC) Nabila Nagayi Semapala is in charge of information and national guidance.
  • Rubaga North MP Betty Olive Kamya (FDC) is in charge of agriculture animal industry and fisheries.
  • Finance Planning and economic Development goes to Budadiri West MP Nathn Nandala Mafabi(FDC).
  • Defence and security is Maracha county MP Adra Onzima Alex, an FDC member.
  • Internal affairs and Human rights goes to Hussein Kyanjo MP for Makindye West (JEEMA).
  • Aswa County MP Reagan Okumu (FDC) is the Minister for Foreign affairs, regional and East African cooperation.
  • Dr Francis Epetait (FDC) MP for Ngora County is in charge of Health.
  • Education and Sports is Bako Abia Christine woman MP Arua district (FDC).
  • Public service minister will be Amoge Rebecca Otego woman MP Lira district (Independent).
  • Gender Labor and Youth goes to Lukyamuzi Nampijja Lukyamuzi (CP).
  • Eng. Amuriat Patrick MP Kumi County is in charge of works and infrastructure development (FDC).
  • Ekao Florence woman MP Kaberamaido is in charge of Lands and physical planning (FDC).
  • Michael Mabikke, MP Makindye East is in charge of housing and urban development (Independent).
  • Tourisms Trade and industry goes to John Kawanga MP Masaka Municipality (DP).
  • Water and environment, Beatrice Atim Anywa woman MP Kitgum district (FDC).
  • Energy and Mineral development goes to Harry Kasigwa MP Jinja West Municipality (FDC).
  • Rehabilitation relief and disaster Management, Betty Ochan, woman MP Gulu district (FDC).

No people have yet been named for two ministries, that of Local government and that of ICT, Communication Science and technology.

The appointments were made by the FDC National Executive Committee and announced by opposition leader, Prof. Latigo. Many people have welcomed the shadow cabinet as representative and hailed the inclusion of other opposition parties.

By Gerald Rulekere
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First published: June 21, 2006
To learn more about Ultimate Media Consult go to www.ultimatemediaconsult.com.

Gerald Rulekere is a Journalist and member of Ultimate Media Consult. He has written and published extensively on business and gender issues and been writing for Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd for the last two years. A professional and graduate journalist, Rulekere is always looking for an opportunity to better his writing especially for international media.