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Monday,July 06,2020 12:38 PM

MPs okay Bukenya, Nsimbabi

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th May 2006 03:00 AM

Parliament, in a special sitting convened yesterday, approved Prof. Gilbert Bukenya and Prof. Apolo Nsibambi for the posts of Vice-President and Prime Minister respectively.

Parliament, in a special sitting convened yesterday, approved Prof. Gilbert Bukenya and Prof. Apolo Nsibambi for the posts of Vice-President and Prime Minister respectively.

By Felix Osike, Adam Alagiah and J. Namutebi

Parliament, in a special sitting convened yesterday, approved Prof. Gilbert Bukenya and Prof. Apolo Nsibambi for the posts of Vice-President and Prime Minister respectively.

At the same sitting, Parliament overwhelmingly approved a motion to increase the number of Cabinet ministers from 21 to 25. There are 44 ministers of state.

A total of 229 MPs, most of them NRM, voted in favour of the motion moved by Bukenya, while 28 opposition and independent MPs opposed it. One MP abstained.

Seconding the motion, Mbabazi named the new ministries as that of the chief whip, Information, Communication Technology, Lands, Housing and Urban Development and that of East African Affairs.

The Government chief whip, John Nasasira, said since 1995, the number of ministers had not been increased.

Earlier on, 210 MPs voted for Bukenya, while only two MPs; Odonga Otto (FDC) and Moses Kabusu (Independent) opposed his nomination by President Yoweri Museveni.

Nine opposition MPs abstained. They included Betty Kamya, Erias Lukwago, Jimmy Akena, Joseph Balikudembe, Reagan Okumu and Geoffrey Ekanya.

Ekanya explained later that the Speaker, Edward Ssekandi, did not give them an opportunity to air their views. Only the Wakiso Woman MP was allowed to contribute before Bright Rwamirama (Isingiro north-NRM) moved a motion to close the debate.

“We were not given a chance to express our concern on the way government handles the office of the Vice-President,” said Ekanya, adding that for over 10 years, the Government had not provided a decent office to the VP.

A total of 196 MPs voted for Nsibambi to retain the post he has held since April 5, 1999. Only Mityana South MP Ssozi Kaddumakasa voted against the motion.

The motion to approve Bukenya was moved by Kinkizi West MP Amama Mbabazi and seconded by Namirembe Bitamazire (NRM).

Amama Mbabazi praised Bukenya, calling him a “distinguished medical scholar and a patriot.”

Bitamazire said Bukenya was a seasoned politician and a strong NRM cadre. She spoke of his character and personality, describing him as a gender-sensitive man who always has a smile for women. The comment aroused chuckles from MPs on both sides of the House.

The newly-elected official leader of the opposition, Prof. Ogenga Latigo, called for the unanimous approval of Bukenya, saying he was an honest man. He hailed his keen interest in the conflict in northern Uganda.

Before Nsibambi’s approval, Hussein Kyanjo (Makindye West) complained bitterly that the Muslim community had been marginalised in Cabinet appointments.

In his acceptance speech, Bukenya announced that his priority would be to fight poverty in the city and in the rural areas. “Together, we can improve the well being of the people,” he said.

He pledged to concentrate on improving the housing conditions of the poor, start implementing anti-malarial programmes and increasing household incomes.

Bukenya joined politics in 1996 after winning the Busiro North seat, which he has held to-date. He begun as a Movement Caucus chairman, state minister for trade and industry and later became minister in charge of the presidency.

Earlier, the opposition parties announced their respective whips in the first multiparty parliament in 20 years. The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), which has the second-largest presence in Parliament, named Kassiano Wadri as the opposition chief whip.

The Uganda People’s Congress, which has only two MPs, elected Chua MP Okello Okello as its whip, while the Democratic Party chose Issa Kikungwe.

Opposition MPs; Kassiano Wadri, Sam Njuba, Beti Kamya, Latif Sebaggala and Kyanjo opposed the motion to increase ministers.

Wadri who sparked off the debate said, “We in FDC believe in a lean government. Uganda is a poor country with 48% of the development budget supported by development partners”

He disputed the argument by Amama Mbabazi that government wanted to vary the size of Cabinet to ensure regional balance. He said in the seventh Parliament half of the ministers were from the West. “Was that regional balance?” he asked.

Njuba warned that more ministers without corresponding facilitation would result into more corruption.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary appointments committee, which will vet the ministers and is chaired by Speaker Ssekandi, was constituted yesterday.

The members are William Nokrach, Teopista Sentongo, Grace Oburu, James Baba, Peter Lokeris, David Wakikona, Loy Kiryapawo, Daudi Migereko, Geraldine Bitamazire, Emma Boona, Perez Ahabwe, Matte Sibalinghana and Jane Okorimoe, Elly Tumwine, all from NRM.

Others are Odongo Otto, Nabilah Naggayi and Peter Omolo of FDC, Latif Ssebagala of DP, Okello Okello of UPC and Louis Opange, an independent

MPs okay Bukenya, Nsimbabi

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