Parliament yesterday approved Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda as the new Prime Minister of Uganda with 217 legislators voting in favour of his appointment.
Only four MPs voted against the motion moved by vice president Edward Ssekandi, 12 days after Dr Rugunda was appointed to replace Amama Mbabazi who was dropped from cabinet.
Four other legislators abstained.
Before the voting by show of hands, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga ascertained the number of MPs in the House as 225.
Ssekandi’s motion was seconded by Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga, DP Secretary Mathias Nsubuga, and Leader of Independents in Parliament Sam Otada.
On September 18th, President Museveni appointed the then health minister as his sixth premier since he took power in 1986. In his letter to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, Museveni said the appointment takes immediate effect and requested Kadaga to arrange for Rugunda’s approval.
Article 108 A (1) of the Constitution of Uganda provides for the position of Prime Minister to be appointed by the President with approval of Parliament by simple majority from among Members of Parliament or Persons qualified to be elected members of Parliament.
While justifying his motion, Vice President Ssekandi noted that Rugunda has experience in both government and public service and that his profile or record speaks for its self.
Minister Kiyonga noted that in Rugunda Uganda is being offered a freedom fighter, a team player, revolutionary, and a reliable and honest politician to offer leadership to the country.
Kibanda County MP Sam Otada, the leader of Independents in the House, thanked President Museveni for appointing a senior citizen to the position of the Prime Minister and thanked Amama Mbabazi for departing with humility.
However, Otada noted that although the President has powers to appoint and disappoint as stipulated in the Constitution, he owes the country an explanation why he appointed Rugunda and dropped Mbabazi unceremoniously.
DP Secretary General Mathias Nsubuga, who is also Bukoto South MP, noted that he met Rugunda in 1981 and that ever since he has exhibited leadership even when he was a youth. He said he has no doubt that Rugunda would provide a good Prime Minister for Uganda.
Mbabazi noted that it is possible that in the ninth Parliament he knows Rugunda longest saying that they have been friends, workmates and comrades for the last 56 years.
He said that basing on the time he has been with Rugunda, he confirms he is the right choice for a Prime Minister.
Upon his approval, Rugunda thanked Parliament for approving his appointment and also thanked President Museveni for seeing him fit to be the Prime Minister.
He noted that during his tenure he will concentrate on seeing that the NRM manifesto and the National Development Plan are implemented fully. He said that his focus will be on the implementation of the many infrastructural projects that are underway and also continue to prioritize improved service delivery to Ugandans.
He pledged to ensure that the fight against corruption and unemployment are priority for the government.