Earlier this week, Hon Sarah Opendi, the Tororo District Member of Parliament (MP), sought to introduce a bill that will mandate MPs to hold a minimum qualification of at least a bachelor's degree to serve in parliament.
Appearing on RX Radio’s Fatboy Show, Hon. Opendi said the minimum qualification is a UACE certificate, which is invalid in this era when the education sector has experienced humongous changes over the years.
“The UACE qualification was passed at the time when the constitution was being promulgated in 1995 and It has been over 20 years since that happened. When the constitution was assembled, there were only two public universities Mbarara and Makerere. Now we have universities all over the country releasing over 30,000 graduates every year. So there’s no excuse as to why MPs should hold UACE certificates after 27 years of its promulgation,” Hon. Opendi explained.
She further explained that MPS in the 10th parliament passed a bill that amplified the qualifications of members within the local governments, both sub-county and at district levels, and that It’s only fair that the same happens for MPs.
Among the adjusted qualifications were the LC3 at O - level and LC5 at Diploma, and some councilors at a UACE certificate. “Since we were too close to elections, we decided to pause the discussion for MPs. But now it's early enough to have people prepare themselves and go to school,” she said.
Among other amendments, the Honorable also seeks to have 40 percent of the parliamentary seats reserved for women to counter gender inequality in leadership positions.
Asked whether the proposal isn’t irrelevant since the parliament already provides for district leadership positions for women, Hon. Opendi said, “It's not redundant because currently a third of the positions are reserved for women on boards and even in parliament.”
“Currently, we have about 34 percent women representation in parliament 27 years after the promulgation of the constitution. Yet there is an increased number of women in the population who also make up the highest number of Uganda’s population. Uganda has embraced gender equality. We could be talking about gender balance at 50/50 but that's not what we are requesting. We are only requesting 40 percent representation,” she explained.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, and Sarah every weekday from 6 am to 10 am on RX Radio.