Local Government Minister, Raphael Magyezi

The creation of 15 new counties hit a snag following protests from several legislators who accused the Minister of Local Government, Raphael Magyezi of picking and ignoring other proposals during creation of the new constituencies.

This prompted the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to refer the matter to the Committee on Public Service and Local Government and Public Service.

“I have seen the records of the 2015 report. A number of decisions and resolutions were made. I think we need to look at them wholesomely; so I want to give the Minister three weeks and he reports back[to parliament],” she said.

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Magyezi had presented a motion for approval of the new counties of Buyanja East, Ngariam, Agago West, Bukanga North, Bukimbiri, Nakaseke Central, Kiboga West, Buhweju West, Lamwo East, Bugangazi South, Chekwii East, Buwekula South, Kwania North, West Budama Central and Kagoma North.

He told parliament that the new counties would take effect on 01 July 2020, saying that they fulfilled all the requirements in accordance with the Constitution.

“The 15 counties were found justified and necessary for improved service delivery and efficient political representation,” he said.

He added that government is still processing requests for creation of 31 other counties.

But the lawmakers questioned the criteria used to approve the counties. Aswa County MP Reagan Okumu said during the parliament debate that the approval of the new counties be deferred until all legislators are in harmony.

MP Jovah Kamateeka said that the Minister should return with a comprehensive explanation why some requests were omitted.

“There is no equitable distribution of the new counties. We need further clarification on the criteria used to select the 15 while others were left out,” she said.

Aruu County MP Odonga Otto said that government should instead consider suspending the next general elections instead of creating new counties.

“All constituencies are urgent, why consider some and leave out others,” Otto said.

Cecilia Ogwal urged her counterparts to approve the 15 new districts and allow the Minister to process those pending.

“Last time we approved the new municipalities, we should do the same for the proposed counties and wait for the pending ones to be presented. It will be wrong for us to block their approval,” she said.

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