The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has warned the newly elected Members of Parliament (MPs) to be very careful on acquiring huge loans from commercial banks and money lenders because at the end of five years they will be more miserable and poorer than they joined the August House.
Kadaga who retained her Kamuli woman Parliamentary seat in the recently concluded elections passed her cautionary message through her social media channels saying that all the time she has spent in Parliament, she has witnessed newcomers in the House drowning in the sea of loans which has made them even fail in the next election cycle and some have become poor for good.
She said; “I appeal to newly elected MPs not to fall prey to commercial banks and money lenders, especially before being sworn into office in June and reflecting deeply on their expected income; and any need to borrow. Loans, which range from Shs500m to a billion-plus shillings, are usually dangled before new MPs after every election cycle. Unfortunately, these extremely attractive loans eventually become a source of misery for several MPs.”
The problem of MPs’ indebtedness has always been so serious in all Parliaments given the fact that many MPs do spend a lot of money in the campaigns that bring them into the House, therefore when they join Parliament , before learning the situation they acquire loans to pay their debts which in turn widen their risks to drowning in debts for the whole term.
According to the former Leader of Opposition Wafula Oguttu, most MPs do come in Parliament with huge debts, and President Yoweri Museveni has used debts as leverage to hook MPs to pass bills that are in his favours by promising to clear them off.
Some MPs have been arrested at the gates of the Parliament for failing to pay the loans while some have even lost their property.
However, one would ask why do the MPs, who earn much more than most other Ugandans, find themselves deep in debts?
According to Nakaseke South County MP Paulsen Semakula Lutamaguzi, most legislators have to meet a lot of demands by voters and by the time they get elected they will have made a lot of pledges, which they struggle to fulfil using their personal money and they do this to stand a chance of getting re-elected in the next election cycle.
“You very well know our voters, the moment they elect you, you are their saviour, you will have to pay school fees, medical bills and this is all your personal money but remember you also have a family but you need also to keep the standard of an MP, so for some who joined Parliament poor loans will start accumulating,” he said.
Lutamaguzi also noted that the Speaker cautioned the newcomers because it is usually newcomers in Parliament that fall prey to debt repayment problems partly because they are still very excited.
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