INSIDE STORY: How Kaboyo Bounced Back to Cabinet


Details of how the Appointments Committee of Parliament changed their mind on its earlier position and approved the appointment of Alice Karamuzi Kaboyo, as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister for Luwero Triangle-Rwenzori region, are being revealed for the first time.

According to well-placed sources, the committee chaired by Deputy Speaker Anita Among, 22 legislators from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party voted in favour of Kaboyo’s approval, four opposition MPs rejected the nomination while one abstained.

The sources indicate that the committee received a request from the president to reconsider its earlier position declining to approve Kaboyo. The Constitution mandates Parliament through its Appointments Committee to scrutinize all presidential appointees to public offices.

On June 16, 2021, the Appointments Committee rejected the appointment of the former State House aide because of her conviction by the Anti-corruption committee in June 2012, after pleading guilty in a corruption scandal connected to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) case.

Kaboyo, who was jointly charged together with three former health ministers, Jim Muhwezi, his deputies Mike Mukula and Dr. Alex Kamugisha, was sentenced to a fine of UGX 20 million or an eight prison jail term. She chose to pay the UGX 20 million fine.

Represented by the late Bob Kasango, Kaboyo pleaded guilty to two counts of abuse of office and writing documents in the name of the former private principal presidential secretary, Amelia Kyambadde.

Court heard that Kaboyo had already returned UGX 250 million out of the UGX 524 million that was allegedly advanced to her to prepare advocacy conferences.

“This seemingly light sentence is justified because A4 [Kaboyo]has not wasted the court’s time. In the case of default to pay the said sum, the convict will serve the sentences concurrently,” said Akankwasa.

THE TRUTH

Highly placed sources told Pepper that a series of meetings to specifically discuss Kaboyo’s appointment preceded her approval.

We have learnt that when she was rejected, Kaboyo’s elder sister Joy Karamuzi Katafiire who stays upcountry reached her phone and called some senior NRM members demanding to know why her younger sister was being harshly treated by legislators.

The phone discussions were reportedly inconclusive and arrangements were made for her to travel to Kampala over the same matter. In one of the meetings, Katafiire told senior NRM members that her sister had been victimized for a long time yet the young lady has always participated in pro-NRM acts of political mobilization.

She also reminded NRM senior leaders that Kaboyo has served the government religiously but only to be turned into a sacrificial lamb, or scapegoat.

Katafiire went on to remind the NRM senior leaders that an NRA/NRM story can never be complete without Alice Kaboyo’s name mentioned somewhere. After listening carefully, the NRM senior leaders promised to do something.

We have learnt that another meeting was then convened at State House Entebbe and this was attended by 21 NRM legislators on the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

Sources say among other things, the committee members were assured that Kaboyo was remorseful and paid the fines imposed by the court. Members in the meeting were also reminded of the fact that her accomplice Jim Muhwezi was approved as security minister by the same committee.

“Why are you biased on her? Isn’t it the same committee that approved Hon. [Jim] Muhwezi as minister?” One of the senior NRM members was quoted as saying. The meeting was however inconclusive.

They broke bread, wetted their beaks and agreed to meet again. The second meeting was attended by all NRM members of the appointments committee and all left convinced that Kaboyo was needed in this new government if the Bazzukulus’ future was to be secured. Again they broke bread, wetted their beaks and left.

Subsequently the meeting resolutions were presented to the appointing authority to present her name to the same committee for ratification.

WHAT MAKES KABOYO TICK

In the grand NRA/NRM politics Kaboyo is not a creeper, she is a shareholder. Museveni’s wife Janet, was born to Edward Kataaha. Kataaha had six siblings.

His third born brother was called Stefano Karamuzi who can now be considered a paternal uncle to Janet Museveni. Karamuzi (RIP) bore three sons Kampurira, Kananura and Kateera.

He also bore two daughters Joy Karamuzi Katafiire and Alice Karamuzi Kaboyo. This implies Kaboyo is Janet’s cousin sister. When Museveni was a security minister in 1979, Alice Kaboyo first stayed with his family in Kololo during holidays.

When Museveni family fled to Kenya-Nairobi in 1980’s after waging war against the Obote 11 government, Joy Katafiire sent Alice (about 19 years old) to go and stay with the Museveni family in Kenya—this was for her own safety and at the same time to help Janet in taking care of her children.

When the Museveni family relocated to Sweden Alice was with them until the 1986 NRA victory. This implies that whereas Museveni was the NRA high command commander in the bush, Alice Kaboyo took over the responsibility of his family as the commander.

It should also be noted that the story of Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO), an indigenous NGO which cares for war-related and HIV/AIDS-affected orphans in all the Districts of Uganda and founded by Janet, started with a visit by Janet to Luwero. Here she was touched by war affected young children.

No wonder Alice Kaboyo has been appointed to take care of the same area. Before being appointed minister, Kaboyo has been serving as the President’s Senior Advisor on NRA, and also head of NRA Archives Unit.

She was the brain behind ‘Afrika Kwetu’ Trek in January last year. The trek code-named Afrika Kwetu was symbolic to the 1986 liberation struggle as it sought to retrace the routes which the NRA guerilla traversed as they engaged the sitting government in artillery exchange, in the end delivering the NRM to power. The trek gathered men, women, and Bazukulu from all over the country.

Indeed, they stayed together for over 6 days. It’s expected by the President that Kaboyo, who, unknown to many people played a key role in the Joyce Sebugwawo defection from FDC, will be leveraging on the clout and leverage that comes with occupying such a well-facilitated Ministry to amplify political mobilization for NRM.

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