A section of Members of Parliament has reacted to President Museveni’s comments about the 20 million shillings that were given to each MP for COVID-19.
In his address to the country on Tuesday, President Yoweri Museveni condemned MPS for seeking to divert Ugandans from the current war against coronavirus by picking the money.
According to Museveni, he met the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and told her that she entered the trap and the best way to extract themselves from it was by not spending the money, but donate it to the district taskforce in their respective areas.
He warned that the Auditor General would be asked to intervene to seek accountability for the funds availed to legislators.
Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa says the President’s statement is unfair and aimed at gaining political capital.
He added that the President’s directive for the money to be sent to the District Task Forces on Covid-19 was also contrary to the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga who warned MPs against spending the money.
Basalirwa also says that the President should respect the independence of Parliament.
Vincent Waboya, the Budadiri East MP also says that they received the money due to pressure from their voters to buy relief food. Waboya says that since the lockdown, he has spent 23 million shillings to buy food.
He also noted that besides the 23 million shillings, he had to buy seeds worth 15 million to aid farmers in his constituency during the planting season.
Kasese Municipality MP Robert Centenary says that the President was being diversionary in order get political sympathy after getting a huge allocation in classified expenditure under the Covid-19 budget.
Centenary, however, said that he will return the 20 million to the Parliamentary Commission account.
Maracha Woman MP Rose Ayaka said that they needed the money to support their constituents and that the allocation was made in good faith.
Ayivu County MP Bernard Atiku says that it was unfair for the President to castigate MPs over their welfare.
Atiku said that regarding how the money is utilized, MPs will follow the guidance given by the Speaker and that expenditure will be at the liberty of legislators depending on the demands in their constituency through the task force.
Upper Madi County MP Isaac Etuka says that the President’s statement was
unfortunate since other government ministries and departments also benefited
from the Covid-19 supplementary budget. He said that even before the allocation
of 20 million shillings to MPs, they had already spent a lot of money on their
constituents to support people during the crisis.