President Yoweri Museveni gave Shs4.8 billion to newly elected Members of Parliament who attended the NRM retreat in Kyankwanzi, according to reliable sources within the ruling party.
The new MPs who attended a three week long retreat recently, were oriented on how parliamentary work can be conducted at the same time while respecting and protecting the party’s interests.
After successfully completing the retreat, the MPs-elect demanded that they meet President Yoweri Museveni to discuss personal business.
Their prayers were forwarded to the party Secretary-General Kasule Lumumba who organized a meeting and grouped them based on their sub-region. While in the meeting the elected MPs cried to Museveni who is also the party national chairperson that the elections left them with nothing financially. They said they had loans to clear and he was the only one who could rescue them.
It’s from these pleas that the big man had to order the party cashier to give Shs20m as a take-home package to each of the 243 newly elected lawmakers.
“It must be recalled that President Museveni on several accessions has used the trap of money to make his ends meet no matter the costs. And since we expect several constitutional amendments in this coming term, he needs to have the decisive number in the Parliament that will favour him. Therefore since he sees things from the far, he has started to secure his support before even the term begins,” said the source.
According to Henry Muguzi, Executive Director of Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM), the problem of money in politics is still a big challenge in Uganda and President Museveni has on notable occasions come out publicly to discourage the use of excessive money in politics. For instance in 2018 during the Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) meeting where he was quoted saying,“If you want democracy and stability, you should not tolerate electoral violence and money.”
He also just recently in April this year re-echoed to NRM flag bearers from Kampala who lost elections who demanded a cash bailout of Shs 50 million each to help them settle their debts that,“You cannot borrow to go and join politics. If someone gets to that level of asking you for money so they can join politics, do not vote for him. Money should be invested in business, not politics.”
However, amidst such pronouncements made by Museveni , one would wonder why he has failed to walk the talk of discouraging the NRM party from giving MPs-elect such huge sums of money under his leadership.
“Does President Museveni preach water and drink wine? This needs to be further interrogated. Though money is an important aspect in politics, it must not be used in a manner that creates a perception of politics as an enterprise where people join to make money and “eat” from,” Muguzi said.
He added that the culture of giving the newly elected MPs huge sums of money just after elections being espoused by NRM must not be condoned because it sends a wrong message not only to politicians but also to voters who start thinking that indeed joining elective politics is a guarantee that good things will come.
“ACFIM calls upon the NRM party to desist from degenerating into a “cash and carry” party that makes its self-attractive to members because of the amounts of money it expands on them. NRM must be among the frontiers of ideologically oriented politics.”
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