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Who’s Dr Clet Masiga, new Deputy PM and minister for research?

(Last Updated On: 1 February 2024)

Among the key appointments in the Cabinet list released on Monday, January  29 January 2024 was Dr. Clet Wandui Masiga. He has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Research, Innovation and Development. 

His appointment is for Bugisu sub-region and his work will cover six districts of Bulambuli, Sironko, Mbale, Namisindwa, Manafwa, and Bududa. Dr Clet’s responsibilities will also cover Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties in Kenya. 

The entire Elgon region which also extends to Sebei, Tororo, Bugwere, Karamoja and Teso will also benefit from his position. His appointment and key responsibilities were announced in a statement by His Highness Umuguga (King) Jude Mike Mudoma. 

The decision to appoint Dr Clet Wandui Masiga is an excellent choice for the sub-region. 

Who is Dr Clet Masiga?

Masiga is a Ugandan Scientist and the Executive Director of Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI), an entrepreneur in the sericulture and silk industry. He is a National Resistance Movement (NRM) supporter and has ever attempted to stand for Member of Parliament on the NRM ticket but being a globally celebrated scientist, withdrew to focus on science to fulfil the requirements well stipulated in the NRM Manifesto on page 184. 

Masiga has a BSc in Forestry (Makerere University, Kampala –Uganda); a Master of Science (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, and PhD in Genetics and Breeding/Biotechnology at Sudan Academy of Sciences, Khartoum, Sudan. 

While in the United Kingdom, he founded a company, Bioscience Technology Services Ltd whose focus was to invest in the commercialization of Science Technologies for the development of tropical regions. 

Since 2000, he has worked in several countries managing and supervising various projects related to natural resources, environment, agriculture and rural development. These countries include Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi; D.R. Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea; Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, and Mozambique.

Other countries he has worked in also include Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, India, United Kingdom, United States of America, Portugal, Netherlands; Syria, China, Mali and Burkina Faso.

Masiga is a well-published researcher and author. He has written and published five books. Has four registered patents/copyrights and over 36 peer-reviewed publications. He is well respected among his peers and USAID Feed the Future Project profiled him in 2014 in their article titled ‘Biologist Connects International Researchers with African Smallholders’ as an interlocutor to coordinate between the international research community, local African research institutions and individual smallholder communities. 

Masiga worked not only on the science and research aspects of this Feed the Future program but also on the policy, legal and financial aspects. He is a uniquely dedicated, collaborative and visionary partner. He writes columns on biotechnology for local and regional news outlets; he contributes to DAD-net [an international animal genetics e-forum] on controversial topics; he tries to influence legal structures in Uganda and throughout Africa through the African Union’s Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources; and he is engaged in our work and is continually ‘on.’ And he has a program portfolio that is very ambitious.” 

He is the only African scientist on the International Goat Genome Consortium (IGGC) heading a group on cooperative genomics. This consortium goal of the IGGC is to increase the knowledge of the goat genome and use that knowledge to address important biological concerns for improved goat production around the world.

In this Consortium, Masiga is interested in understanding the genetic diversity of goats and sheep to influence their utilization and conservation by African communities and governments. He is particularly keen on using research data to help influence African governments and communities to access and utilize next-generation technologies for farm development. In his current position, Masiga also works as a director for Access and Utilization of Bioscience Innovations and Technologies. 

His academic qualifications coupled with experience and skills make him the best choice for his appointment which will bring very specialized skills to the Position of Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Research, Innovation and Development.  

“I am grateful to Umuguga Jude Mike Mudoma who has given me an opportunity to assist him serve the region in the capacity of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Research, Innovation and Development. 

“Am happy that together with a team of 36 others, we have been entrusted with the challenge of assisting Umuguga in contributing to our region,” Dr Masiga says in an interview. 

Asked what will be his key role as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Research, Innovation and Development, Masiga said, “My first task is to assist Umuguga in implementing his agenda in North Bugisu as a deputy Prime Minister in charge of North Bugisu. My second task is to establish connections to the places where innovations/ideas have been developed and the resources to acquire and introduce them to the region. 

“We will need to ensure we tap government support in promoting agricultural innovation, supporting rural capacity building and the provision of pro-poor innovations for rural social development. We will look at establishing factories/industries for rural areas such as those for agriculture, forestry and associated production and processing industries; mineral, oil and gas exploration, extraction, processing and distribution for the region; textiles, leather and fashion engineering; urban construction and infrastructure planning and development.”

Other areas he intends to work on for the development of the subjects are setting up factories for furniture and interior designs, manufacturing of construction materials and processing machines, manufacturing of health products: pharmaceuticals and medical engineering equipment and facilities; and innovations to promote tourism and support services.

Additional sectors Dr Clet is looking to include mobile banking, finance and financial services; information and communications technology; sports and performing arts and sciences and supporting the processes for development of policies and bylaws to guide the implementation of research and innovation for development of the region. 

“We have our oil in Bugisu and the region. We need to exploit it using the latest technologies and innovations. If we do not do it, someone else will do it and cheat us. We have the minerals to make cement and fertilizers. We need factories owned by the people in the region for us to get resources to develop our region.

“We shall attract investors to work with us and develop our region. We need air transport and many other facilities. Being a researcher and grounded in science, we need to research many areas that cut across our specific needs to identify solutions to our problems,” Dr Clet Masiga added.

He is demanding that the region should have research and innovation facilities to support the development agenda, adding, “We have lots of capacity to establish factories that can produce components that make transport machinery and equipment. We can use innovation to make all our roads motorable in all seasons and invest and connect our rural areas to railway transport. It is possible we can use this Umuguga opportunity to cause lots of development for the region.”  

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