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Katumba Wamala's Status in UPDF Raises Contention

Committee members questioned the appointment saying it could contravene provisions of the law to have a serving army officer in cabinet. Similar queries were raised four years ago prior to the approval of former Army Commander Gen Aronda Nyakairima deceased who had been appointed Internal Affairs Minister in 2013.
General Katumba Wamala at parliament. He appeared before the appointments committee for vetting.

Audio 4

The appointment of Gen Edward Katumba Wamala to cabinet, prior to his retirement from the armed forces raised contention as he faced the appointments committee of Parliament.

The committee chaired by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga was vetting new appointees, among them, Katumba Wamala, the designate State Minister for Works and 11 other persons appointed to head Uganda's missions abroad.

Committee members questioned the appointment saying it could contravene provisions of the law to have a serving army officer in cabinet.  Similar queries were raised four years ago prior to the approval of former Army Commander Gen Aronda Nyakairima (deceased) who had been appointed Internal Affairs Minister in 2013.

Prior to the appointment, Gen Katumba Wamala was the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) and one of the ten army representatives in Parliament. He confirmed that the issue of his status in the army stood out among concerns raised by the committee.

However, Katumba said that his appointment was lawful citing Section 38 in the UPDF Act which provides that a serving military officer can be seconded to a department, agency or body of government.

                                          

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In 2013, parliament's appointments deferred the approval of the former army commander General Aronda Nyakairima (now deceased) with a view of consulting the Attorney General, Uganda Law Society and other stakeholders on his appointment. The committee had inquired from the law society whether Aronda must, prior to being approved by parliament in respect of such appointment, resign or retire from office.

Later, the Uganda Law Society informed Parliament that General Aronda Nyakairima was qualified to become a cabinet minister in government.

The law society noted that there is no requirement in the Constitution that a nominee for a ministerial position should belong to a political party or organization or that the nominee should or should not be a member of the army adding that one a person is a Member of Parliament, he qualified for appointment.

Meanwhile, General Katumba said he was ready to tackle corruption cases with in the works sector saying that this was another point of concern by the appointments committee.

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The appointments committee is still going on with vetting of eleven newly appointed ambassadors. These include Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, Uganda's ambassador designate to Beijing China, Barbara Nekesa Oundo- the Ambassador designate to South Africa, and Phoebe Otaala, the ambassador to Nairobi-Kenya and others.