Ten soldiers who represent the army in Parliament on Tuesday returned the controversial Shs20 million each received from Parliament, purportedly to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda.
The MPs handed over Shs200 million to the Coronavirus Task Force at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kampala.
President Museveni, while giving his 12th address to the nation about Covid-19 on April 28, said the MPs had fallen into a trap by taking the Shs20m each, accusing them of trying to divert Ugandans from focusing on the bigger fight against Covid-19.
“I am very thankful to Ugandans; they have responded to the Shs20 million allocated to each MP that caused confusion. It is bad planning but secondly, there were also legal and constitutional issues involved. It would be morally reprehensible to give themselves money for personal use when the country is in such a crisis and it’s totally unacceptable to the NRM,” Mr Museveni said.
He said the only way they would escape the trap was to handover the money to their respective district Coronavirus task forces.
While handing over the money, Gen Elly Tumwine, the Minister of Security Elly Tumwine said that on top of the Shs20 million, the UPDF MPs have agreed to each donate Shs2 million from their monthly pay, to the taskforce, for the next six months.
Gen Tumwine handed over the money on behalf of his colleagues “because they were out of Kampala City”.
Justice Michael Elubu of the High Court on Wednesday ordered that the Shs20m be taken to the district task force for those representing electoral areas or to the national task force for those representing interest groups. The army is an interest group.
At a media briefing on Thursday, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said Parliament was under attack from the Judiciary and the Executive. She insisted the MPs must follow her guidance while spending the money.
“They should follow my instructions because it is enshrined under the Constitution,” the Speaker told journalists.
Deputy Speaker Jacob Olulanyah is among the MPs who have surrendered the money.
He handed over the money to the taskforce in Omoro District last week.
Kyadondo East MP and leader of the People Power political pressure group, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, and his close ally, Mr Francis Nzake (Mityana Municipality), rejected the money in writing.
Some of the MPs who have delivered the money to their districts include Mr Thomas Tayebwa (Ruhinda North), Mr Jacob Oboth-Oboth (West Budama South), Ms Sarah Opendi (Woman MP, Tororo and State Minister for Minerals).
Some of the MPs had returned the money to the Parliamentary Commission last week, include; Col Fred Mwesigye (Nyabushozi), Mr Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality), Mr Jonathan Odur (Erute South), Mr Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala), Mr Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality), and Ms Amelia Kyambadde (Trade Minister).
Additional reporting by Daily Monitor