Hon. Dr. Crispus Walter Kiyonga, a physician and politician, is the current Minister of Defense in the Government of Uganda, a position he has held since 2006. He is also the Member of Parliament for Bukonjo County West, Kasese District, in the Ugandan legislature.
The Ministry of Defense is responsible for the national defense and security of the country. The 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda under article 209 establishes the roles and responsibilities of the Defense Ministry.
The Ministry of Defense has both a military and civilian component to help implement its mandate. The civilian component supports and facilitates the military i.e. the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), while the UPDF is responsible for national defense and security.
As the Minister of Defense, Dr. Kiyonga is charged with the responsibility of providing policy formulation and political leadership to the ministry, and its key agency, the UPDF.
Early Life and Education
Dr. Crispus Kiyonga was born in Kasese District in western Uganda on January 1, 1952. From 1959 to 1966, he attended primary school at Bwera, near the Ugandan border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
He attended ordinary level (‘O’ level) education at Nyakasura School in Fort Portal from 1967 to 1970. Kiyonga proceeded for his advanced level (‘A’ Level) at King’s College Budo in central Uganda from 1971 to 1972.
In 1973, Dr. Kiyonga joined Makerere University School of Medicine, graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) in 1978. In 2004, he acquired a Master of Health Science (MHS) with specialization in population dynamics from the John Hopkins School of Public Health, USA.
During the post-Idi Amin national elections in 1980, Kiyonga stood as a parliamentary candidate for Bukonjo County constituency representing the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) party led by Yoweri Museveni. He won, making him the only UPM candidate to win during those elections. Later on, Kiyonga joined the National Resistance Movement (NRM) during the liberation struggle against the second Milton Obote regime, were he served on the external wing, lasting from 1981 until 1986.
From 1986 when the NRM assumed power in Uganda, until his posting in 2006 as Defense Minister, Dr. Kiyonga held several cabinet and non-cabinet positions in the Government of Uganda:
1986 – 1986: Minister of Cooperatives and Marketing
1986 – 1992: Minister of Finance – credited with the establishment of the Uganda Revenue Authority
1994 – 1996: Minister of Internal Affairs
1996 – 2001: Minister of Health – credited with efficient handling of Ebola outbreak in Gulu, Northern Uganda, in 2000
2001 – 2006: Minister without Portfolio, office of the President and National Political Commissar
However, between 1992 and 1994, Dr. Kiyonga left the government temporarily to serve as a consultant with the World Bank and the African Development Bank. He returned to active politics in 1994 when he was elected to the Constituent Assembly (CA) that drew up the 1995 Constitution. Kiyonga continues to represent his constituency, Bukonjo County West, in the Ugandan parliament, a constituency he has continually represented since 1980.
Dr. Kiyonga is married with children and grand children.