The Priest of Kitanga Parish in the Kabale Diocese, Rev. Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda has described Uganda as “Politically widowed and orphaned,” after the opposition remained silent about the money released by government to buy cars for MPs.
This week, the government of Uganda started remitting UGX 200M to each of the 529 legislators and ex-officials in the 11th parliament, to enable them buy cars.
This has sparked public outrage with many accusing governments of neglecting the fight against COVID-19 to fund parliament.
The development comes at a time when there is public outcry over high expenses met by COVID-19 patients because of the absence of medicines and other medical equipment in government hospitals.
Fr. Gaetano now says he is mostly disappointed with opposition MPs who have joined their counterparts in the ruling NRM party to receive the UGX 200M at the expense of the people they represent.
He says the act of the Opposition MPs leaves Ugandans widowed and orphaned politically.
While quoting the Biblical story in which Jesus Christ cried in despair a few hours before his crucifixion, Fr. Gaetano says it is time for Ugandans to recite the cry, ” Father Father, why have you forsaken us” in expression of their frustration.
Fr. Gaetano challenged President Museveni to come out and condemn the remitting of such amount of money to MPs at a time when the government is struggling to raise money for COVID-19 vaccines, medicines and oxygen plants at COVID-19 treatment centers.
On several occasions, President Museveni has accused MPs of being “selfish” by increasing their own salaries, exempting their allowances from tax, among others, and he once threatened to abolish parliament.
However, the Director of Communications at parliament Chris Obore defended government saying that buying cars for each MP should not shock anyone since is a ritual done after every five years.
At the close of every month, an MP is assured of UGX 6.1M net salary besides a string of benefits that include a housing allowance of UGX 6.5M, constituency support fund of UGX 17.03M and a town running fee of UGX1.945M.
Ministers or Ex-officials that don’t represent any constituency are exempted from the constituency fund. The MPs that fetch the highest mileage are the national MPs, usually, the national youth representatives, UPDF, PWDs and Workers MPs.
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