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Uganda Gov’t Under Fire over Increased Defence Expenditure

Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has tasked government to provide a detailed explanation regarding the skyrocketing expenditure on defence, suspecting a plot to channel the funds to election-related activities.

The proposed defence budget for 2019/2020 budget is Shs3.5 trillion and Shs1.5trillion, where 56 per cent is classified expenditure.

It increased from Shs 1.3 trillion in the financial year 2017/2018 to Shs 2 trillion in 2018/2019.

“We are concerned with the unexplained sharp increase of the country’s security and defense expenditure,” said FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda.

“Significantly to note is the fact that, classified expenditure has also correspondingly increased from Shs 347 billion in 2017, to Shs 640 billion in 2018 and to2.1 trillion in the new budget of2019/2020,” he added.

Defence Minister Adolf Mwesige said the money will be “spent on items that are crucial for the Uganda People’s Defence Forces and national security”.

He further said some of the equipment procured or refurbished are helicopters, marine boats, infantry fighting vehicles and artillery guns.

But Ssemujju said FDC is suspicion that “Mr. Museveni is hiding money both under defense and classified expenditure to procure votes. He has now embarked on a dubious poverty alleviation tour which is purely vote seeking.”

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Ssemujju did not provide evidence to back his claims.

He accused Museveni of spending billions on wealth creation tours yet critical sectors of the economy such as health and education remain under-funded.

“It is the reason teachers want to go on strike and we support them. They are paid poorly and to now their April salary remain unpaid. Since donors are financing more than a quarter of our budget, they need to hold Museveni accountable. Money which Museveni will donate has increased from Shs 80 billion to Shs 200 billion. This is three times bigger than Mulago Hospital’s Shs 71 billion annual Budgets,” said Ssemujju.

Uganda appears to be beefing up its defence capabilities in the wake of heightened regional tension.

The Allied Decmoratic Forces (ADF) has since stepped up its attacks in DRC near the Ugandan border.

Relations between Uganda and Rwanda also have deteriorated in recent years, fueling speculation of a possible conflict.

President Museveni recently said his tours were aimed at sensitizing people about fighting poverty and wealth creation.

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