Uganda: Parliament Approves Further Increase in Number of Ministers

Parliament has approved further increment in the number of ministers from 80 to 81, barely a week after the same House voted to increase cabinet by the creating position of a state minister for the elderly.

During a House sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker Anita Among on Monday, June 14, 2021, MPs adopted the motion to vary the number of other Ministers in accordance with Article 113(2) 114(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda despite objection from a section of legislators MPs, especially from Opposition.

The Monday motion which was also moved by West Budama North MP Fox Odoi, sought to have an additional minister of state to hold the portfolio of the Minister of State for Information, Communication and National Guidance.

The approval comes after President Museveni on June 10 told MPs during Budget reading that he was considering appointing former Kasese Municipality Mayor Godfrey Baluku Kabbyanga as minister.

The president released his new Cabinet list on June 8 but while delivering his budget speech last Thursday, Mr Museveni told MPs that Kasese was left out of the appointments yet it is a key district he is keen on winning over from the Opposition.

Mr Museveni told MPs that Mr Kabbyanga's name had been on the list he compiled furtively but was forgotten by the person who typed it out.

He insisted that Kasese must have a minister before he promised to send a full cabinet list that includes Kabbyanga's name to the House.

While seconding the motion for variation of ministers on Monday, Bugweri County MP, Abdul Katuntu said: "When you look at all sub-regions, they have representation but there is none from Kasese and yet the constitution states that cabinet should reflect national character."

But to Kalungu West MP Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu, it was surprising that Members of Parliament from Kasese were fighting for one minister in Cabinet and not fighting for their King, Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere who has been in incarceration and can't access his kingdom which was raided by security operatives in 2016 before he was arrested and prosecuted.

"We don't need to decide on Kasese but we need to balance the 'boat' to ensure that the country is served equally," Kilak North Anthony Akol echoed.

However, Tororo District Woman MP, Ms Sarah Opendi urged MPs not to attach variation of ministers to Kasese.

"There is no mention of Kasese in the motion. Otherwise, other districts which are missing will come out demanding for inclusion," she said.

Last month, President Museveni asked the NRM Parliamentary caucus to approve the demand for creation of the position of a state minister for the elderly.

Related

The motion for the increase was on June 10 moved by Mr Odoi, generating a heated debate as opposition legislators denounced the move, instead advocating for a reduction in the number of ministers because of a shrinking Covid-19 hit economy.

They argued that an increase in the number of ministers further strains the economy but they were overpowered.

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