How Balaam upgraded his orange polo shirt to a suit

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How Balaam upgraded his orange polo shirt to a suit
Balaam Barugahara

PROFILE | Balaam Barugahara actually looks dapper in a suit. Recent pictures of events promotion guru suited up shows a suave and debonair lifeline to the persona society had reduced to casual wear.

Balaam is now expected to suit up often and painfully, slowly, relegate his legendary striped orange polo shirt to "field job".

“I have been told that I won’t be allowed in Parliament with my shirt," Balaam said grudgingly on Sanyuka TV.

"I would have wished to stay in my shirt because the shirt is what makes me comfortable, it doesn’t define who I am.”

Thursday night, in a surprising move, President Museveni announced the appointment of businessman and events promoter, Balaam Barugahara as the new State Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

The news of Balaam’s appointment came as a surprise to many, considering he is somewhat a stranger to the world of public service.

As many continue to roll their eyes on the latest development, Balaam, famously known for dorning pink shirts has already expressed readiness to work with the President to deliver on his mandate.

“I look forward to working with and supporting the President in his visionary and deliberate efforts towards the socio-economic transformation of the people of Uganda, especially the youth. Balaam said while commenting on his appointment.

“I pledge to serve Uganda in a patriotic manner, listen to the youth and their concerns, engage with them, mobilise them, and empower them towards bettering themselves and improving their lives.” he added.

But who is Balaam?

Born July 28, 1979, to late Engineer David Balaam Byenkya Akiiki of Kijura, Masindi District and Gladesi Byenkya Abwooli of Kalisizo District in Central Buganda, Balaam is many things a businessman, family man, music and events promoter cum Muhoozi Kainerugaba devout.

Balaam is reportedly blessed with four children. He lost his first son to cancer in 2013.

Balaam, attended Namasagali School, St. John Bosco Senior Secondary School and Original Progressive Senior Secondary School for his A’level.

He attained a Bachelor of Commerce (specialising in Marketing) from Makerere University.

He also enrolled in Master of Business Admimistration at Cavendish University.

Last year, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in humanity from Zoe Life Theological College, USA for his efforts in changing and impacting the lives of Ugandans.

Balaam on duty for Muhoozi in Masaka City

Balaam as a bussinessman

Balaam is a billionaire businessman with diverse interests under his Balaam Group of Companies, a conglomerate operating in Uganda and South Sudan.

Under this franchise, Balaam, who never shies away from taking a stand on public discourse, runs a number of investments in the areas of real estate, media, entertainment, hotels, and manufacturing.

Some of his most renowned business in Uganda include; Radio4 (Uganda), Radio 7 (Masindi), Radio8 (Masaka) and Radio8 (Elgon region), Balaam Marketing Agency.

He is also the MTN Uganda distributor for Kigezi sub-region.

In South Sudan, Balaam is the proprietor and owner of: Original Best Water company based in South Sudan, Radio One in South Sudan, the first privately owned media house he started in 2009.

Is he the right fit?

As Balaam embarks on this new chapter of life, all eyes are on him, with some Ugandans weighing in on his capacity to deliver on his mandate, provided he is a stranger to public service.

Speaking to this reporter, Paul Taremwa, the acting chairperson, Patriots Club cited Balaam’s charisma and patriotism as one of his key attributes that make him the right person for the job.

“He is what one can call a man of all seasons, he can fit in any docket easily and the good thing is that he understands the political dynamics of the position that has been bestowed upon him," Taremwa said.

"He has the charisma needed to sway the youth. He will do good."

Taremwa, who has worked with Balaam on some occasions described the newly appointed minister as one of the best people to work with.

“He is witty and gives morale to those he works with, down to earth guy who is not bossy, I think he makes working with him easy.” Taremwa said of Balaam.

Via an X (formely Twitter) post, a one, DBwambale, rated Balaam highly and believes he will be an inspiration to the youth during his service.

“Unlike most people, I rate Balaam Barugahara highly. A man who has built a multi-million dollar cross border business, made losses in billions of UGX, built himself up from numerous shortfalls + has a keen sense of playfulness when it is needed is exactly the one fit for that job,” Bwambale posted.

Duncan Agaba, the former assistant director at the Government Citizen Interaction Centre says, “Some people may not know, Balaam holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree of Makerere University and an MBA from a private university. In my opinion, he is the best pick for the job!”

Busiro East, MP, Medard Sseggona (Busiro East) also welcomed the appointment of Balaam, as Minister of State for Youth and Children saying, “those are the very kind of people meant to be in President Museveni’s Cabinet.”

Will he finally forego his orange polo shirt?

Appearing on Sanyuka Television, Balaam was asked whether he will drop his usual polo shirt and embrace suits as his new dress code.

He said while he would have wished to stick to his the trademark polo shirt, his new position requires him to dress differently.

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