Opposition firebrand Dr Kizza Besigye has condemned Parliament’s decision to deduct Shs 10bn from government agencies including the Health Ministry for its MPs to “fight coronavirus.’
“Surely, what’s wrong with Uganda’s leaders?” wondered Besigye.
“Everywhere in the world, leaders are donating their earnings to help the COVID19 fight,” he emphasised.
ChimpReports on Tuesday reported that Parliament secretly allocated Shs 10bn, from the COVID-19 supplementary budget, to facilitate Members of Parliament in the committees established by the House to join national activities in the fight against the pandemic.
Shs 5bn was deducted from the Ministry of Health’s supplementary allocation of Shs 104bn and Shs 5bn from other sectors to realize the Shs 10bn to meet Parliament’s needs.
Appearing on NBS Television on Wednesday, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said “Parliament initially rejected it because key ministries such as Ministry of Health was getting less and other agencies more. We decided to support the Ministry of Health, enhance its budget and cut other agency budgets.”
She added: “We have ambulances commandeered by Ministry of Health. The drivers have to be paid and ambulances serviced. MPs are also busy on advocacy. Committees are following up on what is happening in hospitals and they are reporting to the country.”
But Kadaga’s actions have since sparked national outrage, with many saying Parliament could turn out as the most corrupt institution in Uganda.
Besigye said “Uganda’s leaders see an opportunity to increase their “benefits”! MPs getting more than $5,000- each to help them fight Covid19! Stop this habit,” he added.
The former presidential candidate joins dozens of leaders who have condemned the institutionalized corruption at Parliament.
Parliament passed the COVID-19 supplementary budget on Tuesday April 7 2020 after a lengthy Commission meeting was held inside the Speaker’s boardroom.
There wasn’t any debate and the minority (opposing) report was rubbished.
This raised fears that the motive for not considering or discussing the minority report was perhaps to avoid scrutiny by independent-minded lawmakers and the public.
Ugandans wondered why MPs required extra funds for “advocacy” and “supervision” yet the House has a running annual budget for oversight functions.
“We don’t need to divert Shs 10Bn to MPs for “advocacy and to check on hospitals”. This is part of their ordinary oversight and advocacy role for which they are already facilitated. Why are they to be paid separately for COVID-19 oversight? This is daylight theft,” said Sam Wangtic.
Bosco Musinguzi, a resident of Kampala could not hide his frustration.
“Weren’t the drivers being paid before? Weren’t the ambulances being serviced? Isn’t it a normal duty for the committees to follow up and report? This is pure corruption,” said Musinguzi.