By Our Reporter
Parliament will later today sit and approve the newly appointed Vice President and Prime Minister
President Museveni on Tuesday evening released the new cabinet list in which he appointed Jessica Alupo as Vice President and Robinah Nabbanja as the new Prime Minister.
But who is Jessica Alupo?
Alupo is a retired Major of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF). She first joined the cabinet as State Minister for Youth in 2009 and later served as Minister of Education and Sports between 2011 and 2015. But she lost her parliamentary seat in 2016 to Violet Akurut Adome and failed to return to the post-election cabinet.
In the just-concluded election, Alupo defied the National Resistance Movement-NRM party to contest as an independent candidate and eventually ousted Akurut, the official flag holder of the ruling party in polls held on January 14, 2021.
Her battle back to parliament was a hard one especially within the NRM party where she belongs. She was declared flag bearer briefly before the NRM Electoral Commission nullified her election. The election was characterized by violence when big-shots in the district including security officers took sides in support of her challenger.
But Alupo, 47, stood her ground and received support from voters who saw the lines drawn by big political actors in the district. The former Minister now becomes the first person from Teso to be appointed Vice President and only the second female Ugandan to hold the position after Dr Specioza Wandira Kazibwe.
Born on May 23, 1974, to the late George William Epel, an educationist and Bernadette Akol, now a retired midwife from Katakwi district, Alupo went to Apuuton Primary School in Katakwi district before joining Kangole Girls School in Napak and later Ngora High School from where she completed her ‘O’ and A-Level cycles respectively.
Alupo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Linguistics Degree, obtained in 1997 from Makerere University and a Master’s Degree in Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy also obtained from Makerere University among other qualifications. She also holds a Diploma in Public Administration and Management from the Uganda Management Institute as well as a Masters in Public Administration.
Before joining Parliament, Alupo was a teacher at Katakwi High School in Katakwi district. She also worked as an instructor at the Uganda Urban Warfare Training School, Singo in Nakaseke district and an intelligence officer at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), in Kampala. Alupo had initially trained as a high school canteen attendant before undergoing an officer cadet course at the Uganda Junior Staff College in Jinja. She is married to Major Innocent Tukashaba.
In a communication to all MPs, the clerk to parliament says that they are all invited to attend the third sitting scheduled for today, Thursday June, 3, 2021 starting at 10am at Kololo ceremonial grounds.
At Kololo MPs will consider constituting the Appointments Committee in accordance with rules 161 and 168 of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.
“Parliament will also consider a motion seeking parliamentary approval of the appointment of the Vice President in accordance with article 108(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda,” the clerk to parliament said in a communication to MPs.
Parliament will also consider a motion to approve the appointment of the Prime Minister who is also the leader of government business in accordance with article 108A(1) of the Constitution .
At today’s sitting the August House will also consider a motion to have the number of cabinet ministers increased.
The NRM caucus early this week approved President Museveni’s request to add one additional state minister position to increase the number of ministers to 80.
Therefore, the motion to have the number of ministers increased will be presented before parliament and is expected to be passed since the ruling NRM has majority representation in parliament.
According to the clerk to parliament, in the afternoon, parliament will receive the budget speech from President Museveni.
Despite the new ministers being not yet vetted and approved, the president is expected to use powers given to him by the constitution to delegate the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija to read the budget.
“Members will be transported by buses from parliament to Kololo ceremonial grounds starting 8:30am,” the clerk to parliament said.