Who is the new Minister of Tourism Wildlife & Antiquities for Uganda Hon.Tom Butime?
Tom Butime is the new Tourism Minister in Uganda after a Government reshuffle. Energy Minister Muloni, could have been a casualty of #savemurchisonfalls campaign.
In Exercise of the Powers vested in the President by Articles 99(1), 108(2), 108A(1), 113(1) and 114(1) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has, in pursuance of the goals of the NRM and Ugandans in general, made minor changes to the Cabinet, what included appointing the Hon. Butime Tom as the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities for Uganda
On Tuesday Tour Operators, Safari Guides, Hoteliers and civil society activists led by Association of Uganda Tour Operators Association (AUTO) chairman Everest Kayondo led a massive campaign to Murchison Falls National Park following government plans to construct a 360-megawatt hydropower dam at Uhuru Falls in Murchison Falls National Park.
By the weekend a cabinet reshuffle which had been hitherto brushed off as rumors began to trickle down to the public via whats app until Presidential Press Secretary confirmed on twitter before local the media houses announced on headline news.
Among casualties on the list were Minister for Minerals and Engineer Irene Muloni who together with Tourism Minister Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu had issued a statement at the Media Centre on 3rd December announcing that Government of Uganda confirmed having signed a Memorandum of Understanding with M/S Bonang. Energy and Power Ltd. from the Republic of South Africa and Norconsult and Norwegian JSC Institute Hydro Project work together to undertake detailed feasibility studies for a proposed Hydropower Project at Uhuru Falls located adjacent to Murchison Falls in Murchison Falls National Park.
Professor Kamuntu who had made the announcement with Engineer Muloni was transferred to the Ministry of Justice and replaced by Capt. Tom Butime Rwakaikara who was transferred from Ministry of Local Government, leaving Muloni not even on the list of a token post of Presidential Advisor’.
At the ‘Top of Murchison Falls ‘AUTO chairman had given a rubble rousing Press Statement after taking the epic 7 km cruise from Paraa to the bottom of the falls before hiking the top to address the press. Surrounded by mainly youthful activists who had traveled in four busloads 280km from Kampala Kayondo sternly warned that should the government continue with its plans, we should elect new leadership!
AUTO had hitherto played diplomacy petitioning various offices including the President of the Republic of Uganda, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, the Speaker of Parliament, the Parliamentary Committee on Trade and Tourism, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development.
They had also made a formal objection to the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development.
Immediately after the Murchison campaign, Uganda’s Speaker Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga chairing the Parliament session the next day accused Cabinet of doing things behind the back of Parliament. Stating that “The country needs to know, you cannot run government at the [Uganda] Media Centre. With whom are you talking to at the media center?” Ms. Kadaga asked.
Planning Minister David Bahati who had risen to defend the government decision was rebuffed when the Speaker referred him to the Constitution of The Republic of Uganda regarding the protection of natural resources.
“You are holding these resources on behalf of the people of Uganda and the people have said they don’t want you to give away the falls, so what are you studying?” Ms. Kadaga said.
And so the President seems to have taken the heed, by immediately implementing the reshuffle.
Media Centres Ofwono Opondo who is usually on the opposite end of the argument, defending government this time joined the chorus of voices condemning the Ministers in a full-page article in the ‘New Vision’ Government daily titled’ Stop flip-flopping over Murchison Falls’
The President seems to have taken the heed by signing off the reshuffle by Saturday evening,
Who is Tom Butime?
Colonel (Retired) Tom Butime (born 1947) is a Member of Parliament for Mwenge County Central, Kyenjojo District, in western Uganda.
Previous portfolios he has held include Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of State for Refugees and Disaster Preparedness, Minister of State for International Cooperation and acting Foreign Minister. A historical member of the rebel National Resistance Army in the bush war from 1981-86 that morphed into the ruling Movement (NRM) Butime served as Special District Administrator, Nebbi District neighboring (Murchison Falls) as his one of his postings.
Butime is a Trained Cinematographer. His hobby is soccer, with Manchester United as his favorite Premier league side. He also enjoys farming
The ‘Fountain of Honor’ ( President)is yet to make his pronouncement on the dam, in the meantime, the public cannot rest on their laurels as word around is that Engineer Muloni was simply a ‘pawn on the political chessboard’ .
The struggle continues!