Ugandan President Museveni Promotes Wife to Enlarged Cabinet

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni named his wife as a cabinet minister and increased the size of his cabinet after winning a Feb. 18 election, according to a list of 75 ministers published today by state-run New Vision newspaper.

Janet Kataha Museveni was promoted to full cabinet minister responsible for the semi-arid Karamoja region. She was previously minister of state. The list of ministers is in addition to the vice president and prime minister who were appointed last week. One more minister will be named at an unspecified date, according to New Vision.

“This cabinet is one of the biggest in the world and will be a burden to the taxpayers as they will have to fork out resources to maintain it,” Kassiano Wadri, a lawmaker from the opposition Forum for Democratic Change said today by phone from the capital, Kampala. “These ministers will need expensive cars and allowances to maintain their extravagance.”

Museveni, who has held power since 1986, was sworn in for a fourth term as president this month, as thousands of opposition supporters turned out to welcome opposition leader Kizza Besigye home from neighbouring Kenya.

The nation’s parliament on May 25 raised the number of cabinet ministers to 29 from 21, while those of ministers of state were increased to 47 from 41..

Museveni’s former private secretary since 1979, Amelia Kyambadde, and former press secretary, Mary Karooro Okurut, as well as three opposition politicians who crossed to the ruling party before the Feb. 18 election were also named ministers.

“The policy of cronyism, sycophancy and disregard of democracy is being promoted as we have seen those who crossed from other parties being rewarded,” Wadri said.

Museveni argues that a bigger cabinet promotes the efficient delivery of services to the electorate.