By Matua Job Richard
Dear Ugandans, without any element of fear Madam Rebecca Kadaga failed miserably in my own opinion. Her mischief has led to embarrassment for our good Government in a manner which unhealthy and untimely just like the confusion of corona virus.
The Genesis of the clash.
– Ministry of Finance presented supplementary budget in response to the abrupt Challenge caused by Covid-19.
-The budget was 304 billions Ugandan shillings.
– The Parliamentary Commission Chaired by Madam Speaker Rebecca Kadaga decided to use its Constitutional power of appropriating funds to allocate to themselves 10 Billions, of which each MP got 20,000,000/= leaving a balance of around 960,000,000/= which nobody can tell who received it.
– Two MPs ran to court for an order to stop the money on grounds of no justification for giving MPs the money for doing what National Task Force (NTF) for Covid-19 is already doing with District Task Force (DTF).
– Court issued an order for MPs not to spend the money until the main application is disposed off.
– The Speaker requested Attorney General to go to Parliament and give legal opinion.
AG complied and went to Parliament and as he was giving his opinion, the irritated speaker, used raw power to sarcastically shutdown Hon. William Byaruhanga.
Justification of MPs for taking the 20,000,000/=.
– It should be noted that there was no work plan or budget designed for MPs to spend this money. This was just going to be a change of pocket to many of these MPs save for the few genuine ones like we have in Westnile and other parts of Uganda who would really spend the money on serious public matters like this contribution we are making to help our people.
– The justification kept mutating from fueling ambulances to feeding voters to donation to district task force to what have you. This is the matter which annoyed everyone including myself Matua.
– MPs do not have any Constitutional mandate to receive public fund on their private accounts and spend it then come to Account. PAC is headed by an MP and its members are also MPs. How can they investigate themselves in this case if MPs are accussed of mismanagement of the money? You can not involve a monkey as a judge of a case to clear a forest where the monkey stays. What would naturally expect the monkey to do? To say okay you can clear the forest and It relocates to the ocean. A monkey is not fish and doesn’t swim.
REALITIES vs UTOPIAN ARGUMENT.
– The reality is that voters do disturb MPs for help ranging from food, burial expenses, school fees, wedding etc. This is a fact and must not be denied.
– The question is, given this lockdown where people are literally not earning except for few food vendors and salary earners in public Institutions, was it practical for MPs to be given only 20,000,000/= to feed over 40,000 to 50,000 voters for 1 Month in quarantine? If the answer is no, then what could have been a better solution (s) which MPs didn’t think about in their wisdom?
– The Utopian way is to remain ideal & religious to Constitutional dictates of the role of an MP oblivious of the Objective Reality on ground in terms of how voters consider MPs, the moving ATM or living ATM. Let me concentrate on the realities without breaking the law.
THE BEST OPTIONS WHICH MPs MISSED.
√ As the appropriators of National Budget, MPs would have used that opportunity of supplementary budget to do a Constitutionally moral thing of reappropriation of the funds for Ministries, agencies, department which have been rendered non-functional by Covid-19 to generate about 3 trillions.
√ This 3 trillion would have been allocated to every family or house hold. Just 1,000,000/= per house hold would have been voted.
√ A small amount of this 3 trillion would have been used for relief food for care homes, street Children Quarantined in a school etc.
√ Then Government would have locked down the country for 60 days.
√ Additionally, MPs would have moved a motion for Government to:
1. Suspend utility bills for 2 Months. Eg Water, Electricity etc.
2. Suspend Rental fees for 3 Months for both commercial and domestic rents.
3. Suspend loan payments for 3 Months.
4. Suspend taxes on essential things required urgently like food, PPEs etc.
Given the above options, no single person would call an MP for food save for emergencies.
MPs would be peaceful without unnecessary disturbances.
By choosing to illegally have 20,000,000/= to go and feed the voters, MPs committed Political and moral suicides. They should not blame the public but instead should seriously blame themselves.
THE OTHER ARGUMENT OF MPs.
– Desperate for finding justifications, MPs like Hon. Nambooze Bakireke Betty, Hon. Semuju Nganda, Hon. Nseroko Muhammad and many others have spiritedly referred to the money for the security Department.
This argument is laughable if not outlandish for the following reasons:
a) It is the army, police, prison, LDUs enforcing the lockdown both internally and externally at our numerous porous borders. Actually the security is in the Frontline with the health workers.
b) This Covid-19 is a grave security matter. Foreign powers interested in causing mayhem in Uganda can export this virus to disorganize us. Army must be given enough funds to effectively stop imported cases of Covid-19.
c) It is the security guarding the institutional quarantine areas. Remember, in our neighborhood, Kenya, suspected people with covid-19 are escaping from Quarantine almost everyday.
Even in Uganda, at the start, these Quarantine dwellers escaped. There is need for security to tightly guard all Quarantine centers in Uganda. Imagine every district having hundreds of people in Quarantine how many Officers would we need for effective control of the Quarantine centers?
I am tempted to think majority of our MPs rushed to explain what was clearly wrong without proper analysis of the issue at hand into details.
√ Parliament ran adverts for over 2 years about the Constitutional role of MPs. Yes we know lobbying for development is a behind the scene role of an MP nowadays but it must not replace Constitutional dictates if the rule of law is to be upheld. At most it must not promote illegality or absurdity.
√ Madam Speaker, made gross mistake by attacking AG and by sanctioning such dubious Payments to the MPs.
√ Since these MPs were never given Chance to debate about that money, I strictly confine my maximum blame on Kadaga and honestly wish her to go to hell.
– Madam Kadaga is a senior lawyer with law firm having reputable lawyers like Hon Abdu Katuntu. She can not abuse a court order for which she took oath to respect as a practicing lawyer, however much she was annoyed.
By MATUA JOB RICHARD,
CADRE NRM, PATRIOTIC UGANDAN WITH A DEEP PRACTICE OF SCIENTIFIC TOOLS OF ANALYSIS