Just hours after being dropped as Prime Minister, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, has issued a statement thanking President Museveni for giving him an opportunity to serve in cabinet. In a press statement circulated this afternoon, Mbabazi also congratulated his soon-to-be successor, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, adding that the outgoing health minister has the capacity to deliver at the office of the Prime Minister.
In a press statement circulated this afternoon, Mbabazi also congratulated his soon-to-be successor, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, adding that the outgoing health minister has the capacity to deliver at the office of the Prime Minister.
The outgoing Prime Minister also expressed his readiness for re- deployment in any other capacity.
In a letter dated September 18, 2014, President Museveni informed the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga that he had appointed health minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda as Prime Minister and forwarded his name for parliamentary approval. In the same letter, the president thanked Mbabazi for serving in government.
Mbabazi, 65, has been Prime Minister since May 2011, a period that makes him the shortest serving premier under Museveni's government. The Kinkizi West Member of Parliament, who is also the ruling NRM party secretary general, thanked members of cabinet for the "maximum cooperation." To the staff at the Prime Minister's office, Mbabazi said he will continue working with them whenever his services are needed.
The decision by the president to drop Mbabazi comes at a time an apparent power struggle between the two NRM allies threatens to tear the ruling party apart. Mbabazi was suspected of nursing ambitions to take on his boss in the 2016 elections, something the now former prime minister has always dismissed as untrue. At a ruling party legislators' retreat in Kyankwanzi in February this year several MPs accused Mbabazi of undermining his party chairman and moved to sign a resolution endorsing Museveni as the only party candidate. Mbabazi, the secretary general of the NRM, was among the last MPs to sign the petition.
Before becoming Prime Minister, Mbabazi held several cabinet portfolios including Defence, Security, and Regional Cooperation. He also served in both internal and external security organisations.
Dr Rugunda on the other hand served as minister of health from 1986-88 and again from 2013 until his new appointment yesterday. The 66-year-old medical doctor also held several other ministerial positions including works, transport and communication minister from 1988 to 1994, foreign affairs from 1994 to 1996, information from 1996 to 1998, Presidency from 1998 to 2001, water, lands and environment from 2001to 2003, internal affairs from 2003 to 2009, Information and Communications Technology from 2011 to 2013 and then Health. From 2009 to 2011, Rugunda was Uganda's Permanent Representative at United Nations in New York. He retired from elective politics in 2001 after representing Kabale Municipality in Parliament for 15 years.