Almost 90 per cent of Ugandans cannot explain functions of their representatives in Parliament, the Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda has said.
The Kira Municipality lawmaker who was responding to questions from the public during the twitter chat on Wednesday said most Ugandans still don’t understand what services their MPs should extend to their villages other than buying them alcohol.
“We still face a lot of challenges because most of our voters think an MP is supposed to attend weddings, funeral services and also buying alcohol for them, yet these are absolutely contrary to the functions of the MP,” said Ssemujju.
He added, “Most of our voters depend on weak points to elect an MP. There’s still a need to increase civic competence by the public so that they can choose MPs on the basis of their ability to deliver, not because they appeal to local sentiments like attending funerals, weddings.”
Ssemujju said although numbers of MPs have increased, there is very small service delivery at the grassroots where members come from. This is because most of the elected members don’t know what to do.
“Politics in Uganda has been extremely commercialised. The moment one has no money, theyare not competitive enough. So voters are used to getting more from the MPs which makes stops them from working because they know very well when elections come they will pour out money,” he said adding that because most voters can’t tell what their MPs can do, they end up demanding them to be activists yet not every member is able to be that.
“At the moment there are no battles in Parliament or quarrels between the opposition and NRM members. Members of the public will start thinking that opposition is now compromising yet we can’t keep on doing that all the time,” he added.
On the quality of the Parliament, Ssemujju said that since voters send whoever gives them money and don’t think of the quality of the person they are voting for, Parliament has lost confidence and credibility.
He noted, “The quality of MPs is going down compared to that from the 6th and 7th Parliament.”
According to Ssemujju, the public is also to be blamed on why Parliament is not performing well, he added that people should know that it’s much important for the MP to sit in the Parliament than attending weddings funeral rights and graduation ceremonies.
“We should devote less time to dead people and concentrate on the living unfortunately in Uganda if an MP doesn’t attend a burial ceremony is a bad person and they won’t vote you again,” he noted.