A cursory look at the front page of the New Vision newspaper, requires celebration of the seeming adequate representation of women in President Yoweri Kagutta Museveni’s Cabinet. After all, of the ten ministers included in the image under the headline: “BEST MINISTERS”, six are women and four are men.
The image, indeed, could give an impression that Mr. Museveni’s cabinet is at least 60 percent women. And since, statistically, the female population of Uganda is numerically larger than the male population of Uganda, the image may be construed to reflect the true nature of a well balanced, fair and gender representative cabinet.
Fact is, though, six months ago, as of 14th December 2019, Mr. Museveni’s cabinet consisted of only 34 percent women; while 66 percent of his cabinet was men. In which case, again, a big up to the few women in cabinet that six of them are among the ten “best ministers.”
Furthermore, what is the power of the women’s voice in cabinet?
A deeper analysis of Mr. Museveni’s cabinet of six months ago, in fact, reveals that the top five positions in cabinet – President, Vice President, Prime Minister, and the 1st and 2nd Deputy Prime Ministers – were all men, and it continues to be the case even now.
Of the full ministers in Mr. Museveni’s cabinet of six months ago, 64 percent were men and only 36 percent were women. Of the Ministers of State, 66 percent were men and 34 percent were women. And of the Senior Presidential Advisors, 40 percent were men and 60 percent were women. The President’s Principal Private Secretary is male.
It would seem, therefore, that the numeric strength of the male voice in Mr. Museveni;s cabinet is double that of the women in cabinet.
It is also important to note that among the “best ministers” is the wife of Mr. Museveni, the First Lady Janet K. Museveni. It may be of no consequence, but experience shows that her allegiance boundaries will necessarily be grey on many issues.
So, through a gender lens, should we celebrate or not?