Uganda: Vetting Committee to Reconsider Rejected Ministers

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has summoned members of the appointments committee to reconsider two ministers who were rejected recently.

They are; Harriet Ntabazi, the designate minister of State for Industry and designate minister of State for Works Ismael Orot.

Chris Obore, the director of communications and public affairs at Parliament, says the committee will reconvene today at Friday at 9:00am to vet the two appointees.

He says the news of the rejection of the duo was speculative, saying they just had a few things to sort out. He says President Museveni has also written to Kadaga sending back the two nominees for vetting. According to Obore, designate minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem will also appear before the committee on Friday since he was away during general vetting period.

Ntabazi was earlier rejected because of inconsistencies in her birth dates. While in her curriculum vitae, Ntabaazi shows that she was born in 1974, her statutory papers, including an affidavit show that she was born in 1979. Her academic documents show she was born in 1973. As a result, the committee asked Ntabazi to rectify her documents.

On the other side, Ismael Orot was rejected for lack of the requisite qualifications. Orot is the Kanyum county Member of Parliament in the 10th parliament.

His rival, Kevin Ikiror challenged his nomination during the National Resistance Movement party primaries, saying his academic papers were forged.

His curriculum vitae (CV) and academic documents showed a change of names three times. At one time he was called John Stephen Ikadorot, then John Stephen Ikadarot and later Ismael Orot. The first change of name was in 1983 when he converted to Islam and adopted his current name although his 1986 O-level certificate bears the names John Stephen Ikadarot.

In 1992, upon admission to Uganda College of Commerce Soroti, he swore an affidavit on February 20, changing his name to Ismael Orot. He, however, failed to provide proof that his change of names was registered and gazetted. Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye, the committee lead counsel, during vetting last month referred the new minister to the voters register for Kanyum polling station in Kumi district.

Among the voters at the polling station on February 18, 2016, one was called John Stephen Ikadarot and another Ismael Orot. Orot said he knows a person with such names existed but they only share names.

He later failed to explain why on conversion to Islam, he changed both his clan and religious names. It was at this point that Mwijukye told him, "As far as we are concerned, there is nothing to show that the person the president appointed is you because there is no evidence that you changed names and all your documents, like you said, have errors in the spellings of your name."

For one to qualify for appointment as minister, he or she should hold a Uganda Advanced Certificate in Education (UACE), the same qualification required for a Member of Parliament.

Article 113(1) of the Constitution states that cabinet ministers shall be appointed by the president with the approval of parliament.

Source: The Observer