The appointment of Engineer Godfrey Mutabazi as information minister has been viewed as being particularly strategic. In his speech, Kaliba warned the media especially radio stations in Fort Portal against being critical of the Kingdom. He said the new information minister will use his position as UCC Executive Director to crack down on radio stations which are critical of the kingdom.
The appointment of three journalists and a media regulator as ministers is being seen as an attempt by Tooro Kingdom to repair its negative image by courting the media.
In the Tooro Kingdom cabinet unveiled last weekend by new Prime Minister Stephen Kaliba, journalists Vincent Mugume of Voice of Tooro, Michael Wandera, who works for Better FM and Francis Kyaligonza, a talk show host on Gold FM, were given ministerial posts.
Also on the list is Patrick Kamara, a talk show host on NTV, who was appointed minister for information and communication technology, while Engineer Godfrey Mutabazi, the Executive Director of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), is now the kingdom minister for information.
The appointment of Mutabazi has been viewed as being particularly strategic. In his speech, Kaliba warned the media especially radio stations in Fort Portal against being critical of the Kingdom. He said that the new information minister will use his position as UCC Executive director to crack down on radio stations which are critical of the kingdom and the Queen Mother, Best Kemigisa.
The Queen Mother has in the past had a clash with radio journalists in the area whom she accuses of discrediting her. Some radio presenters on Better FM and Voice of Tooro have been summoned to record statements at the police over the same. Kaliba’s comment in the presence of the King, Queen Mother and the new cabinet, therefore, appears to be a clear signal that the Kingdom is relying on Mutabazi to use his position to whip radio stations into line.
In a telephone interview, Mutabazi welcomed the appointment but said his work as UCC executive director will be independent from his ministerial position.
The largely youthful cabinet is a blend of new faces and some old guard who are known to be close to the Queen Mother. Appointing the youth is a sign that King Oyo is finally courting them to be fully involved in the running of the kingdom.
The cabinet list consists of 22 full ministers and 16 deputy ministers. There are six women who are full cabinet ministers, while four are deputy ministers. Out of the 22 cabinet ministers, 16 are new.
King Oyo’s lawyer Edgar Tabaro, is now the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, while former Kabarole Woman MP Margaret Muhanga was appointed Minister of Gender. Francis Mugenyi, King Oyo’s Principal Private Secretary becomes Finance Minister. Mugenyi has often been accused of interfering in the administration of the kingdom, which has led to resignation of several kingdom premiers.
Some of those who have been retained in the cabinet include Arthur Namara, who has been the Kingdom spokesperson. He is now Minister of Foreign affairs and spokesperson to the cabinet. Fredrick Nyakabwa, who has for over 10 years served as Kingdom information minister, is now minister for general duties.
Rev. Richard Baguma, the Tooro Kingdom regent was appointed Minister of Elderly and Clan Mobilization.
According to Kaliba, the appointments were based on merit. He cites that of Patrick Kamara, whom he says will help promote ICT in schools and in the Kingdom administration and also liaise with the media to promote kingdom activities