Kiira Municipality MP Hon Ibrahim Semujju Nganda has revealed that he and several other colleagues in parliament are distributing relief food to their hungry constituents, against the directive of President Yoweri Museveni and security forces.
Museveni in his recent national addresses on Covid19, banned politicians from engaging in public distribution of food, which he said exposes residents to the risk of contracting the virus.
He advised those that want to support government to send their food and other donations to the national Covid19 task force.
Those that insist on distributing food, the president said, should be arrested and charged with attempted murder.
But Hon Nganda says he and other MPs couldn’t stand by and watch government “fumble and fidget” to distribute food items for weeks while people starve.
“I my constituency, — and this is why they can’t arrest me for distributing food; — I have a committee,” Nganda told NTV this morning.
“The food I buy, I don’t stand and take photographs for the country to see me, but every single day I send food and also give out food at my gate for those who come there.”
Even other MPs according to Nganda, are doing the same, while others especially those that belong to the ruling party, are being helped by the armed forces to distribute food.
He cited the example of State Minister for Microfinance Hon Haruna Kasolo who he claims was “being escorted by the military” to hand out the food to his constituents in Kyotera.
It should be recalled that Police last weekend arrested and detained Mityana Municipality MP Hon Francis Zaake for distributing food to his people back home.
Yesterday, reports emerged that the MP had been tortured in detention and that he had to be hospitalized.
“Zaake was not only arrested but he was also beaten. We went to see him in Kireka and they said we couldn’t see him,” Nganda said.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga wasn’t available to comment on these reports.
However, while defending his decision to defy the president’s directive, Nganda said government had showed lack of capacity to carry out the food distribution to the people who need it urgently.
He said the government should not have locked out the local leaders such as the Kampala Lord Mayor and division councilors in the process.
“When government got the food, the first thing they did was to start quarreling bout price inflation, and then the food being of poor quality,” he said.
“In my constituency if you gave us that food we would distribute it in one day. But I can tell you that this lock down will end before they distribute even half the food.”
On why he, unlike his other colleagues in the opposition refused to refund the controversial Shs 20million that is being handed to MPs, Nganda said he couldn’t do this during such extraordinary times.
“Everybody knows we are not pocketing this money; you can accuse us of doing work that is not ours but that work exists. If there is no body doing it, please stop blaming us for doing it,” he said.
“I demonize MPs who line people up to distribute money, but now I am doing this. These are extraordinary times. How do I abandon people at my gate and tell them to go away, and then they see me in the news in the evening returning money? That’s a luxury I would look so insensitive.”