President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni released a list of new ministers on Tuesday 8 after over a month since the dissolution of the old cabinet on May 3.
The new list features several new faces, shock appointments and some perennial cabinet members in the previous cabinets conspicuously missing that not many saw coming.
At the Presidency, Museveni opted for hugely experienced effective and hardworking Milly Doka Babalanda in the place of axed Luuka Woman MP Esther Mbulakubuza Mbayo.
The appointment of Babalanda has widely been looked at as a reward for efficiency, discipline, loyalty and hard work.
The old testament biblical story of King Solomon and the two women that were arguing over the maternity of a baby closely connects with the story of Babalanda’s appointment to the Presidency docket.
In the argument that set King Solomon among the smartest men to have lived, two women purporting to be biological mothers to the same baby set out to seek justice from the king. The matter was such a complex one to settle for all officials below the King that they kept on referring the warring mothers from bottom to the top.
But after failing to find an easy solution to the squabble, the King proposed tearing the toddler into pieces with his sword as a way to separate the two. One woman welcomed the suggestion and thanked the King for his wisdom and justice. On the other hand, another surrendered her claim and asked that regardless, the baby should be left to her co claimant. This was the mother.
In the same vein, Babalanda has been summoned to look after a baby she has produced, nursed and protected. Besides her commendable service to President Museveni in her capacity as Advisor on Political matters, she leaves an unmatched legacy at the Kyambogo based office of the NRM National Chairman where she has served for the last five years.
At the time of her Kyamboga appointment, the office had not lived long enough to set out an impact worthy mentioning. Some party members had ignorantly thought it had been established to rival the Kasule Lumumba – led Secretariate at Kyadondo, misinformation that Babalanda erased strategically through cooperation.
Over a year to the 2021 general elections, she set out onto an early mobilization campaign for Museveni who had by then been identified as party Presidential candidate.
She clearly spelt it out that her office would only participate in mobilizing for one candidate – the President and not any other party candidate at any other level. This could have been intended to prevent possible clashes with the mainstream party structures and conflict of interests.
By late 2019, she had already set up a network of coordinators in every district of the country to start an early mobilisation drive for Museveni that would later bear the intended fruits on January 14 this year.
At the onset of the COVID19 pandemic, Babalanda had personally led the ONC team into the field, visiting the newly formed teams in some areas of Buganda before they were interrupted by the March last year lockdown.
The drive would however resume in late August, this time with new energy. The team started with a meeting for Greater Wakiso coordinators then Mukono, Kampala before moving to the rest of the subregions of the country.
On the nearly two months expedition, coordinators were tipped on region-specific messages to relay to specific categories of voters after training them on the various aspects of what was required of them in their new roles.
These teams were structured from regional to village levels and by the time Babalanda and Kirunda Faruk- the Kyambogo Office Administrator led their team back to Kampala, an army of over a million campaign agents had been set up to complement the official structures of NRM.
The same team would later be used as the President’s agents on the election day while also securing his victory and presidential vote protectors.
The not so often heralded work at Kyambogo was so immense that the president unsurprisingly awarded the office with two cabinet positions to office chief Babalanda and Hajjat Minsa Kabanda who will be in charge of Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs.
With such demonstrated loyalty, love and administrative competency, betting against Babalanda’s success at the Presidency would be such a reckless gamble for any gambler.
The Writer is a Journalist and the Online Media Coordinator in the President’s Kyambogo Political Office [ONC]
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