Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni fired his finance minister and moved the energy minister in a cabinet reshuffle announced on Tuesday that brought onboard his wife and kept key loyalists.

Uganda is gearing up for presidential elections in 2011. Museveni is expected to stand again and the former cattle herder turned student activist and rebel leader is seeking to bolster support within his ruling party.

Museveni replaced Finance Minister Ezra Suruma with Sydda Bbumba and appointed his wife, Janet, as state minister for the Karamoja region, the Ugandan government said in an email showing the reshuffled cabinet which was received on Tuesday.

Suruma, who became a senior adviser on economic affairs, had been under pressure over a multi-million-dollar land scandal involving Uganda’s largest indigenous investor.

One analyst said the reshuffle would not herald much change, with Museveni still very much in charge.

“I don’t think when you change the personalities it makes much difference. This is a system that depends on one-man rule,” said Paul Omach, a political scientist at Makerere University.

While the former guerrilla leader has been praised for the nation’s strong growth, the opposition accuses him of turning into just the kind of power hungry “Big Man” African leader he lambasted as a fresh-faced rebel in the 1980s.



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