Through a heated debate, opposition legislators denounced the move, instead advocating for a reduction in the number of ministers because of a shrinking Covid-19 hit economy.
Parliament has approved an increment in the number of ministers from 79 to 80. President Museveni last week asked the NRM Parliamentary caucus to approve the demand for creation of the position of a state minister for the elderly.
The motion for the increase was June 10 moved by West Budama North Member of Parliament (MP), Fox Odoi, drawing mixed reactions from legislators.
Leader of Opposition in parliament, Mathias Mpuga argued that elderly people do not need a minister but services that will help them cope with challenges of old age.
“I don’t think they need political mainstreaming. Very soon I will be moving a motion for parliament to reconsider the representation of special interest groups,” Mpuga said.
Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya said: “These ministers cannot take decisions themselves as they have to wait for the president. Why do we need 80 ministers?”
Anthony Akol, the Kilak North MP said an increase further strains the economy.
“This must be the time we should be looking at lessening the cost of administration instead of increasing the number of ministers. The 11th parliament should do things differently,” he said.
John Baptist Nambeshe, the opposition chief whip in parliament tasked legislators to critically examine the impact of growing the number of ministers.
For Kiboga Woman MP Christine Nakimwero, the house should ‘‘reject the motion because it adds more burden to the treasury.’’
Dokolo District Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal seconded the motion justifying creation of a cabinet docket for the elderly.
“Many old people die before reaching the age of 80. The age for accessing support for the elderly should be reduced to 60,’’ she said.
Santa Alum Okot, the Oyam district Woman MP said elders need urgent help, which can only be channeled through their line minister:
“I rise to support this motion because. Elders’ many cannot be addressed through the current structures but when they have a minister, this will be simple,” she said.
Majority of the ruling NRM party members yelled affirmatively after speaker Jacob Oulanyah had called for voting.