KAMPALA – A vote on the creation of new cities has been delayed after Parliament failed to raise the required quorum to take a decision.
The Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah who chaired the sitting on Thursday, December 5, 2019, guided that the Constitution makes a specific requirement that such a vote is taken by a majority of all members of Parliament.
“The activity we are going to engage in to take a decision is dictated by the Constitution meaning, we should have a record of that majority. I suspended the House for 15 minutes and on return, the number has even reduced,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Minister of Local Government, Tom Butime presented a motion for the creation of new cities including; Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Mbarara and Fort Portal. Others are; Mbale, Masaka, Hoima, Entebbe, Lira, Soroti, and Wakiso.
“There have been a series of consultations because we have to agree on boundaries and demarcations. The last and most agreed upon besides other resolutions are the ones I have brought here,” he said.
Butime added that boundaries of Moroto, Nakasongola, Kabale and Wakiso will be determined by April 2020 and presented for approval.
“Consultations as of Tuesday were not yet concluded. Yesterday, we were able to discuss and conclude very comfortably with members from Teso region and we agreed,” he said adding that, “I have no doubt that by April next year, I will bring the configuration of the parts that constitute Wakiso, Nakasongala and Kabale”.
According to Butime, operationalisation of the new cities will be phased in the next three years.
Hon. Medard Sseggonna (DP, Busiro East) however, raised concern over the creation of two cities in Wakiso which are Entebbe Municipality and the rest of Wakiso district, arguing that whereas there is need for cities, they need to be viable and conform to the law.
“We are not objecting to those areas where thorough studies have been made and are ready to go. In respect of those particular areas where more needs to be done, I would seek the indulgence of this House that the matter be referred to the relevant committee with timelines,” he said.
Hon. William Nzoghu (FDC, Busongora North) on the other hand moved a motion for an amendment of the Minister’s motion to elevate Kasese Municipality to City.
The Minister, however, said that Kasese still lacks the requirements to attain a city status, adding that the government is currently focusing on developing the Municipality in preparation for city status.