Henry Banyenzaki, the State Minister for Economic Monitoring in the Office of the President, says he belongs to a group of men they regard as “self-made men”.
The minister made the revelation on Friday while speaking at the launch of a tourism magazine, African Secrets, written by Irene Nakitende, a teen vacist.
“I recognise Irene already as an employer and a self-made woman,” he started, while praising the girl he thought was out to achieve greater things.
“You see, Irene is like myself. I always knew what I wanted and went for it.”
“Forexample, when I was starting business, I went to those Kikuubo people and they asked me “what business experience do you have?” I told them (pauses to adjust his court) that I was born a businessperson.”
Banyenzaki said he was then still at campus when this challenge was posed by established businessmen.
“I told them that I found myself a businessperson since childhood and have never backed out eversince.”
“You know,” he continued, “I bought my first car while at University, made my businesses and succeeded as a student.”
“All it takes is confidence like what Irene showed me when she first came to my office. All you need is confidence, determination and courage that you can achieve whatever you want.”
He then told a story of how he went to United States and challenged whites.
“I had only $500 in my pocket. Then a white man asked me “will you be able to return? Where is your luggage?” I told him I didn’t have any luggage and didn’t need any. Confidence, see?”
He added: “I told them I had gone to represent my country and didn’t need a luggage or lots of money on me. Why I would I stay in US when there is a paradise (Uganda) waiting for me back home. Ooh yes, Uganda is a paradise.”
Banyenzaki narrated how he confidently met and marketed his nation in front of the President World Bank and then returned home with his head held high.
The minister said all he has achieved in life is because of personal confidence and courage.
He thus encouraged the youth to tame their fears and reach for the sky for the world was open and ready to be taken, if they had the courage to do it.
Banyenzaki recently appeared in the news for allegedly trying to smear his political opponents in Kabale district.
He was also named among officials who own personal ambulances which face impounding by traffic police.
Shs 6bn Bank scandal
The minister was recently cited in a Stanbic Bank $2m (Shs6 billion) fraud.
According to Daily Monitor, the minister approached officials at the bank with promises of “a good deal”.
Commander of the police’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in Kireka, Mr Charles Kataratambi, said they were investigating the case in which the ban foiled an attempt to wire $1.5m (Shs4.5b) to Japan by the minister’s racket.
Two months later, fraudsters opened an account in the bank’s branch in Nakivubo in Kampala in the names of one Nsubuga claiming they had property in Masaka.
The bank had alerted police and a former Presidential Guard Brigade member was arrested who later confessed the minister’s involvement.
Banyenzaki was appointed minister of Economic Planning on 27 May 2011 replacing Vincent Nyanzi.
He is also the elected Member of Parliament for “Rubanda County West”, Kabale District.
He was born in Kabale District on 27 March 1967.
He attended local primary and secondary schools. In 1988, he received the Diploma in Environmental Studies, from Makerere University.
Later, in 1991, he was awarded the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences.
In 2005, he received the degree of Master of Arts in Planning & Management. Both degrees are from Makerere University.
Banyenzaki also holds the Diploma in Accounting, obtained from the Association of Professional Accountancy Studies, in 1988.
His Certificate in Microfinance for Non Specialists, was obtained in 2003 from The World Bank.
Beginning in 1995 until 1997, he worked as the Assistant Marketing & Sales Manager at Uganda Aluminium Limited, a private enterprise in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. In 1998, he was promoted to Marketing Manager at the same company.
From 2000 until 2001, he worked as the Business Development Manager at Tororo Cement Limited.
In 2001, he contested for the parliamentary seat of “Rubanda County West”, in Kabale District.
He won and was re-elected in 2006 and 2011.
He is married. He is a Christian. He belongs to the National Resistance Movement political party.