Andrew Mwenda says Kahinda Otaffire’s appointment was not a coincidence, but President Museveni was sending a message to Rwandan President, Paul Kagame
Andrew Mwenda, a veteran journalist said Kahinda Otaffire’s appointment as a Minister of East African Affairs was not a coincidence, but President Museveni was sending a message to Rwandan President, Paul Kagame.
“The reshuffle has taken more than three years. He then brings in Otafiire and announces the day Uganda and Rwanda government had deliberations. I think this was deliberate,” Mwenda said.Tweet
Mwenda adds that:
“Appointing Otaffire as the Minister for East African Affairs means President Museveni was sending a message to Rwanda and I am sure President Kagame got the message. If he wanted to amend relations to Rwanda, he would make appointments in a way that pleases them.”Tweet
Last Saturday President Museveni announced a cabinet reshuffle that saw a numbery of cabinet ministers dropped and others lowered a day after Uganda and Rwanda failed to reach a consensus during the talks held on Friday in Kampala.
Gen Otaffire is well known for his no-sense approach. He has often criticised President Paul Kagame for deliberately frustrating efforts aimed at normalising relations with Uganda.
Mwenda also stressed that the new cabinet is purposely not to fight corruption, but it’s the way President Museveni repays his cabinet.
“In Uganda, you don’t earn a salary as a minister. You get it because you are an MP. I don’t think the primary aim of the cabinet reshuffle was because of corruption, because that is the way Museveni repays his Ministers,” Mwenda said.Tweet
Also, Mwenda said the recent cabinet reshuffle included young Ministers placed in offices where they will not have much influence.
He adds that President Museveni has no plans of handing over power to anyone including his son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba. His only plan is to be a life president of Uganda.
“I don’t think Museveni has a plan for power transition even for Muhoozi. He has a plan for himself to stay in power. If we were seeing a younger prime minister, deputy prime ministers and the speaker, then we would feel that politically, he is preparing for the transition,” Mwenda said.Tweet
“The young people have been brought in, but I thought he would give them greater power. I don’t see in Museveni’s cabinet a path to any form of transition,” Mwenda added.Tweet
However, government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo said that the cabinet reshuffle made by the President was based on loyalty. He adds that the President always appoints people who will help him fulfil his manifesto.
“The President must get people who are 100% loyal to him. Matters of competence is debatable. If this cabinet can help the president to maintain stability, it is part of competenceTweet
At the end of the day, it is the president who knows why he appoints and disappoints. If this is the team that will make the president finish the manifesto and galvanise support, what is wrong with that?” Opondo said.
Rwanda and Uganda are currently having bitter relations-following accusations and counter-accusations of funding rebel groups to cause instability between the two countries.