Number of state ministers go to 51
Parliament has passed a motion varying the number of ministers of state from 50 to 51 in accordance with Article 114 of the Constitution.
West Budama North MP, Hon. Fox Odoi Oywelowo moved the motion under Rule 56 of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.
“Variation of the ministers imposes a charge on the Consolidated Fund and a motion can be moved on behalf of the president with his express permission,” said Odoi Oywelowo.
He said that the additional number provides for a minister of state in the Ministry of Information and National Guidance.
President Yoweri Museveni’s letter that Odoi read, provided a justification that the number of cabinet ministers and other ministers is for provision of effective supervision of huge government machinery and addressing issues of inclusion in participation.
Hon. Abdu Katuntu (Independent, Bugweri County) who seconded the motion, said that the additional minister will cater to the inclusion of Kasese in the cabinet.
“The constitution gives direction and guidance that the state shall be based on democratic principles which empower and encourage the active participation at all levels of all citizens in their own governance,” Katuntu said.
Katuntu added that the composition of government shall be broadly representative of the national character and social diversity of the country.
“This is a constitutional demand. When you look at the designated ministers, the region of Kasese is missing. All other sub regions have representatives in cabinet,” he said.
Hon. Abdi Fadhil Kisos Chemaswet (NRM, Soi County) said that inclusion of Kasese its the omission.
“Now the President has spoken that let Kasese be covered and this consideration is perfect and important,” Chemaswet said.
Busongora North representative, Hon. Sowedi Kitanywa said the additional minister is important because the globe is now driven by information and communication technology.
“If we are to have a productive society driven by ICT, then we must have structures that are able to lead us in that direction,” he said.
He added that proposing a minister of state who will oversee that area is important, adding that, ‘if this is approved by Parliament, then Kasese takes a share, is a welcome idea. I am very sure all my colleagues here, none of them will refuse a piece of meat if it is put in their plate’.
Hon. Anthony Akol (FDC, Kilak County) however objected to the motion, saying it is wrong for a ministerial position to be created for a particular region.
“I am one of the person who believes in balanced leadership and for all the regions to benefit. It is unfortunate that we are setting a bad precedent that a region should benefit on extension,” said Akol.
He added that there are different regions that got more ministers than others, and if President wants to vary ministers, there is no need to increase ministers.
“Will this ministry only be for Kasese? What we needed here was to balance the areas that have more minsters with one going to Kasese,” said Akol.
Tororo District Woman Representative, Hon. Sarah Opendi clarified that the motion did not mention Kasese in its justification.
“Just like you have said, it will be dangerous for us to sit here attaching creation of the ministerial position to a particular district because there are others which do not have ministers,” she said.