Parliament has asked the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to consider appointing a more gender-sensitive Board of Directors for the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
This follows the recent appointment of the new board for the NSSF that has only one woman out of ten members, a decision that lawmakers said, falls short of the required gender parity rule in public office.
The Deputy Speaker, Anitah Among warned that Parliament will not approve the new board if the finance ministry doesn’t put into account the gender equality concerns raised.
The directive came after a red flag raised by Tororo District Woman MP, Sarah Opendi that appointing only one woman on a board of ten members was against the one third gender rule provided for in the country’s law books including the Constitution that guarantees equality of all Ugandans.
“It is almost 42 years since the Convention on Elimination of all Forms of discrimination against women was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly; Uganda ratified the treaty in 1980; Uganda enacted the 1995 Constitution, and Article 21 provides that all persons are equal before the law; It further provides that the State shall ensure that there is gender balance and representation of all marginalized groups,” said Opendi.
She noted that the developments at NSSF are an indication that closer attention has to be paid to all other appointments made by the Government in all public offices to ensure they comply with the one third gender rule.
“The law is very clear on the one third gender rule but here we are with a board of ten members with only one woman. I am surprised that this could be approved by Cabinet where we have a significant number of women,” Opendi said.
“There is no reason why in this era men should occupy all the positions in the boards, with only one woman,” she added.
The Minister for Finance, Matia Kasaija on September 1, 2021, appointed a new Board of Directors for the NSSF for the next three years effective September 01, 2021.
Dr. Peter Kimbowa, a corporate governance and management expert was appointed the new chairman of the NSSF board, replacing Patrick Byabakama Kaberenge, whose two terms expired on August 31.
The board also includes David Kibenge from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, and Patrick Ocailap, representing the finance ministry while Dr. Eng. Silver Mugisha and Fred Bamwesigye represent the Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE).
Other appointees are Sam Lyomoki and Penninah Tukamwesiga on behalf of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions (COFTU) while Julius Bahemuka and Hassan Lwabayi Mudiba represent the National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) and the NSSF managing director Richard Byarugaba serving as the executive member of the board.
Among told off finance ministry officials that whatever a man can do, a woman can equally do or even better.
“We appreciate that Women are more than 30 per cent of the cabinet but we want the 30 per cent rule applied across institutions. It is not a joking matter because it is dear to Women,” said Among.