Articles 113 (2) and 114 (3) of the Constitution provide that the cabinet shall have a total number of 42 ministers (Cabinet and State) and that the president can only vary the number with the approval of parliament.
approved the motion to increase the number of ministers to 80. The outgoing cabinet comprised 79 ministers
including 29 full cabinet Ministers and 50 State Ministers. Articles 113
(2) and 114 (3) of the Constitution provides that the cabinet shall have a total
number of 42 ministers (Cabinet and State) and that the president can only vary
the number with the approval of parliament.
Now, this morning, the West Budama North East MP, Fox Odoi
moved a motion to increase the number of the cabinet to 80 members during plenary
chaired by the speaker, Jacob Oulanyah at Kololo Independence Grounds. He
explained that the additional post would cater for the elderly, which he
described as a unique group that requires representation in Cabinet.
Odoi also said that the efficient running of the State would
require an increase in the number of Ministers given that the country's
population has increased from 20 million people in 1995 to over 44 million
people. Dokolo Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal, seconded the motion, saying
that the Tenth Parliament had previously approved the representation of elders
in parliament as a special interest group, adding that they also require
representation in Cabinet.
“'We need a specific office to design legal framework, policies
and programs for the elderly in this country. Ministers appointed for other
assignments cannot deal with issues of the elderly," said Ogwal. However, a section of opposition legislators opposed the move to expand cabinet,
saying it would increase public expenditure at a time when Uganda should be
devising ways of reviving the economy amidst the effects of the Covid-19
"We are putting a lot of money on administrative offices for nothing. 80
ministers are a huge cost to the population. Tanzania and Kenya are moving
faster without a big number of Ministers," said Kalungu West MP, Joseph
Ssewungu. Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition said that MPs have a duty to advise and caution the president and not only to meet and approve what is
brought to the table.
"There is no one against the elders of this country.
The issue is about the numbers. There is need to advise the President that the
problems of the elders are not ministers...they need planning in what is
available but not political mainstreaming," said Mpuuga. Christine Kaaya Nakimwero, the Kiboga Woman MP questioned why parliament is
debating such a motion at this time instead of handling issues challenging the
elderly directly like good health services.
John Baptist Nambeshe, the Opposition Chief Whip questioned whether there is
a collaboration between a big cabinet and improved service delivery. "Instead,
it increases public expenditure. We should be discussing other measures since
the economy is punching below its weight. The president is obsessed with
numbers as if it will be proportional to service delivery to the populace,"
But Santa Alum, the Oyam Woman MP said that the Eleventh Parliament cannot
completely close its eyes to business handled by the Tenth Parliament that
considered elders as a special interest group. She said that elders should form part of the new parliament
by adding a State Minister in charge of the elderly.
Judith Alyek, the Kole
Woman MP shared the same sentiment, saying that elders should have
representation in Cabinet. After a heated debate, Speaker Oulanyah put a question
on the motion and the majority of MPs responded in support of expanding cabinet.