OPINION– I think there’s going to be a tag of war in this country over who are the real patriots because at a time of national crisis, economic collapse & catastrophes, ecological peril & social dislocation, the Ugandan people deserve to be a partner to the Ugandan government.
Currently out country is experiencing a crumbling economy, as of December 2020, Uganda’s total public debt hit a record Shs 65.82 trillion, up from Shs 49 trillion in 2019, with a Shs 16.82 trillion increment due to increased odious government borrowing engendered by gratuitous expenditures.
This means that of the estimated 45 million Ugandans, each one owes lenders Shs1.5 million. The country’s public debt portfolio is projected to swell in this financial year, with economists warning that it could surpass the 50 per cent threshold-hence becoming untenable.
Uganda is rapidly collapsing before our eyes under the destructive misrule of Gen. Museven. The politics of gerrymandering is taking us in a wrong direction compared to the other member states of the East African Community. Burden comes back on us tax payers.
As Dr. Kifefe Kizza-Besigye said: “We must realize that as people, we are foolish & we must deal with our stupidity. The biggest problem I see is simply having masses of people that are not thinking. That is why we have a regime like we have doing the things it’s doing for 35 years & we are simply lamenting.”
The 11th Parliament has the biggest number of legislators ever in the history of our country with 529 MPs, by comparison to the previous increments, this is the second highest ever after 2011 when the number increased by 87 from 375 to 426. And it is a half of 1011 MPs of the other four countries that make-up the East African community.
With the increased number, comes increased cost of administration. The legislators receive allowances, one-off car, free health care, retirement benefits, salaries & other perks.
The salary & total emoluments for the MPs is set by the parliamentary commission run by the legislators.
Averagely, the monthly payment for MPs is estimated to be Shs 25 million because they are paid differently depending on the mileage they cover from Kampala to their constituencies.
MPs near Kampala receive less emoluments than those from far away & those that have a nationwide constituency such as the army & workers’ representatives.
Taking the average of Shs25 million as the monthly pay for each MP, the 10th parliament 445 elected MPs have been earning a monthly salary of Shs11.1 billion.
In case the 11th Parliament does not increase the salaries for its members, the 529 MPs would take Shs13.2 billion monthly hence an additional Shs2 billion burden on the taxpayer. Below is the breakdown of the juicy perks the 11th legislators will be receiving :
◉Monthly pay – Shs25 million or Shs 30 million Basing on the mileage.◉A one-off car grant – Shs 313 million◉Mileage facilitation – Shs4.5 million,◉Constituency facilitation – Shs3.2 million◉Monthly taxable salary – Shs2.6 million◉Subsistence allowance – about Shs1 million
◉Sitting allowances (committees) – Shs50,000 per sitting◉Sitting allowances (plenary) – about Shs50,000 per sitting◉Social security benefits – Shs9 million per month◉Town running allowance – about Shs1 million◉Medical insurance cover (MP and family)
◉Monthly gratuity payment of 30% of their gross income◉Wardrobe advance (loan) of up to Shs50 million◉Free iPad – Shs2.6 million◉Each MP is entitled to a furnished office◉Travel abroad $520 per day (more than Shs1.7million)◉Travel in land – each Shs150,000 per night/day.◉Pending Constituency Development Funds Shs10million per annum.
Although the authorities in Parliament took a decision to scrap the annual Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) of Shs10 million, some NRM MPs have approached the President, requesting to have the facility reinstated & the money increased to help them on the pressures in their constituencies.
Connected to the above, there has been a creation & approval of 15 cities by the 10th parliament, totting up to 16 cities. These include: Kampala, Jinja, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Masaka, Mbale, Arua, Gulu, Hoima, Lira ,Soroti, Entebbe, Moroto, Nakasongola, Kabale & Wakiso.
According to the current salary structure, each City the Lord Mayor gets a net salary of Shs11, 427,305, division mayors get a net salary of Shs7, 150, 000, councilors get a net salary of Shs3, 150, 000 & division councillors get a net salary of Shs 2, 300, 000.
The Parliament has again varied the number of Ministers from 79 to 81 with the newly duplicated slots going to the State ministry for elderly & Ministry of Information, ICT, & National Guidance forefronted by Gen. Museven.
If Gen. Museveni was the president of Tanzania, he would have appointed over 120 ministers, Kenya 42 ministers, Nigeria 300 ministers, Rwanda & Burundi 3 ministers to balance tribes & regions. According to his fallacy “am appointing more ministers to balance the regions in Uganda”
Currently Ugandan has 54 tribes & about 9 indigenous communities that formally came to recognition & 4 regions. May be I can say his trajectory is to appoint a minister from each district, since he has sundered our country into 135 districts.
These 81 ministers are not here to serve downtrodden Ugandans, but purposely to expand Gen. Museven’s plundering networking system of the public coffers. In actual sense these are just ceremonial ministers who’s duties & responsibilities are duplicated.
Power & juicy perks for 81 Uganda ministers include fueled government car, government paid driver, security, mobile security detail, mileage allowance, subsistence allowance, fully furnished house, three house servants, two house guards & business class travel! All this burden goes taxpayers.
You can compare & constrast with our neighbors likes of Burundi has 16 ministers & 162 MPs, Kenya has 21 ministers & 349 MPs, Tanzania has 23 Ministers & 393 MPs & Rwanda has 26 ministers & 106 MPs. The MPs for these four neighboring countries are 1011 MPs a half of our 529 MPs, their ministers are 86 ministers almost equating to our 81 minister moreover we are even a landlocked country.
When plundering becomes a way of life for a group of men in a government, over the course of time they create for themselves positions & legal system that authorizes it & a moral code that glorifies it.
In all this phenomenon whom to blame, it’s we Ugandans for being slothful about matter on national importance. The bottom line here is you cannot fight corruption with corruption, all forest fires start from small & eventually grow massive. If you vote for a corrupt leader because he champions your money cravings, race or religion, you deserve everything you asked for; crime, robbery, violence & poverty.
As Edward R. Murrow Said: “A nation of sheep will soon have a government of wolves.”
Author :Hon. Amanya Gibson Human Rights Activist A Member of National Unity Platformamanyagibson24@gmail.com
The views expressed within this content are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of this website or its affiliates.