Seven municipalities will attain city status effective July 1, after Parliament yesterday approved a motion to create 15 new cities.
The cities that will start operation effective July 1 include Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Masaka and Mbale.
The other cities are Hoima, Lira, Soroti, Entebbe, Moroto, Nakasongola, Kabale and Wakiso. The House voted 313 against one in favour of the motion.
The overwhelming vote on creation of cities comes four months after the House failed to take a decision on three occasions in December due to lack of quorum.
or the House to take a vote on a motion to create cities, there needs to be just more than 50 per cent of the total number of MPs, which is 223.
The motion was passed during yesterday’s special plenary sitting that was conducted from the parking lot as a way of maintaining at least two-metre space from one another as a measure of preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Only State Minister for Minerals, Ms Sarah Opendi voted against the motion, arguing that the government has not yet given a detailed report on how to save the economy from the effects of the current Covid-19 pandemic and it would not be good to create cities that will require more expenditure.
“We borrowed €600m (about Shs2.5 trillion) to finance our budget. I vote no,” Ms Opendi said.
The minister, who is the Woman MP for Tororo District, was earlier overruled by the Speaker after she moved a procedural point, saying it would not be necessary to vote for cities at a time when government is struggling to finance newly created Sub-counties and Town Councils.
Local Government minister Raphael Magyezi said the second clusters of cities to be operationalised in the 2021/22 Financial Year are Hoima (the Oil City), Lira and Soroti.
In the FY 2022/23, only Entebbe City will be operationalised, while Moroto, Nakasongola, Kabale and Wakiso cities will start in July 2023.
Mbale and Masaka cities jumped to the first cluster to become operational on July 1 this year following pressure from the residents and Buganda Kingdom, respectively.
The people of Mbale demonstrated against a government decision not to include their city in the first lot, whereas, Kabaka Ronald Mutebi II protested the decision to leave out Masaka on the list of new cities.
Only Kasese, which had not been considered by government, was rejected by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah during the December debate on grounds that Busongora North MP William Nzoghu did not attach a district council resolution and a technical report on his motion.
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