The number of Ministers has now increased from seventy-nine to eighty after Parliament approved the motion allowing the President to vary the number to cater for the portfolio of the elderly.
In a Plenary sitting Chaired by the Speaker Jacob Oulanyah on 10th June 2021 at Kololo Ceremonial grounds, West Budama North East MP, Hon Fox Odoi Oyweloyo seconded by Hon Cecilia Ogwal, moved the motion to vary the number of Ministers.
Odoi told the MPs that the portfolio of the elderly is necessary for the representation and for effective running of the state. He emphasized the president needed a minister to champion the issues affecting the elderly.
Articles 113 (2) and 114 (3) of the Constitution gives the President a prerogative to increase the number of ministers with the approval of Parliament.
There was, however, objection from a section of legislators who were concerned by the increasing cost of administration in a weak economy among other reasons.
Hon Cecilia Ogwal (FDC, Dokolo District) was concerned that the elderly in Uganda had for long been neglected, including by the Constituent assembly that developed the 1995 Constitution.
“ I stand here to apologise that at the time when we were debating the 1995 Constitution, we did not focus seriously on the unique needs of the elderly. Whereas we catered for the needs of the interest groups, we did not cater for the elderly. “ Said Ogwal.
Kalungu West MP Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu questioned the continued amendment of the 1995 Constitution. He equally raised the concern over the increasing cost of running government.
“ I have been in Parliament, Ministers are never here. We are creating a Ministerial position for nothing. When shall we ever respect our Constitution? When shall we ever give breathing time to this Constitution?” Ssewungu said.
Hon Gilbert Olanya (FDC, Kilak South) said that Parliament should instead focus on how to mitigate the pressure on the economy emanating from the Covid lockdown.
“ The Economy is down, the private sector is down, if you look at what is happening in Hospitals around the country there are limited oxygen cylinders, people are suffering and dying, but for us MPs, we are discussing varying the number of Ministers from 21- 30.” Said Olanya.