Parliament has amidst protest from Opposition MPs, passed a motion providing for the creation of 46 new counties, bringing the total number of constituencies to 353.
The Minister of Local Government, Hon. Raphael Magyezi, said that although his ministry tabled 15 new counties before Parliament on the 30th of June, 2020, there has been increased demand from the population through their district councils compelling the Cabinet to create additional 31 counties.
“We have done consultations, we have reviewed requests and considered recommendations of the 2015 report of the Parliament Committee on Public Service and Local Government recommending creation of additional counties,” Magyezi told the House chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday, 30 July 2020.
Magyezi explained that the yard stick for creating more counties, was based on factors such as geographical terrain, the level of economic development and wishes of the people.
This, however, did not please legislators hailing from districts with large populations that have not been catered for in the new counties.
Hon. Muhammad Nsereko (Ind, Kampala Central Division) in objection to the motion said government was unfair to districts such as Kampala by creating new counties in areas with small populations.
“Kampala is represented by only nine MPs with one Member of Parliament representing five million people yet Nakawa with 300,000 people has been given a new county. Let us talk of equity, this is injustice” said Nsereko.
Nsereko said that the yard stick for creating new counties leaves a lot to be admired. He wondered why for instance the Sebei sub-region with a population of 350,000 people, would have more representatives than Rubaga Division with a much bigger population.
Kadaga told the legislators, “I know there are districts with bigger populations but there is a procedure used in determining new counties”.
The 46 new counties are curved out of the districts of Kibaale, Katakwi, Agago, lsingiro, Kisoro, Nakaseke, Kiboga, Buhweju, Lamwo, Kakumiro, Nakapiripirit, Mubende, Kwania, Tororo, Jinja, Ngora, Amolotar, Karenga, Napak, Ssembabule, Otuke and Ntungamo.
The others are lsingiro, Bukwo, Kaberamaido, Kween, Namisindwa, Soroti, Serere, Mbale, Yumbe, Kyegegwa, Mitooma, Bududa, Pallisa, Namutumba, Manafwa, Tororo, Apac, Kaabong, Rwampara, Kikuube, Nornoyingo, Bulambuli, Nwoya and Busia.
Relatedly, Parliament passed a motion effecting operationalisation of three cities of Lira, Hoima and Soroti, bringing their commencement dates forward from 31July 2021 to 31 July 2020.
Magyezi, who presented the motion, said this was aimed at enabling citizens in the three cities to take part in the 2021 general elections, which would not have been possible without the alternation of the dates.