The opposition members of Parliament have been boycotting parliamentary plenary sessions as a form of protest. they argue that the government needs to agree to certain terms before they will resume attending sessions. however, sources have revealed that the opposition mps only reject sessions that don’t provide them with allowances, while attending those that do. this suggests that the opposition mps’ actions are hypocritical and clearly motivated by self-interest rather than the interests of their constituents.
According to sources, the attendance book of all paying committees are completely signed and attended by all the opposition members without fail, whereas the plenary sessions are empty and no opposition member especially from the national unit platform nup), attends those sessions, fooling the public to believe that, they are fighting for a cause.
The director of communications and public affairs at parliament, chris obore, explained that according to the rules and procedures of the 11th parliament, members are entitled to allowances when they attend committee sessions. however, plenary sessions do not provide any allowance.
According to a source, the opposition members have, under the guidance of the leader of the opposition, continued to prioritize the standing and sector committees, where they receive allowances, over attending plenary session these committees require members to attend two committees during each session of parliament. They receive an allowance of ugx 100,000 and ugx 50,000, respectively, from monday to friday, totaling ugx 750,000 per week. Additionally, besides salary, each committee member receives a monthly allowance fee of ugx 2,400,000 without any taxes.
The rules of procedure in the 11th parliament reserve positions of chairpersons and deputy chairpersons in all accountability committees for the leading opposition political party. this arrangement ensures government oversight.
One source stated that the national unity platform (nup) holds the majority of these positions since they possess more members compared to other parties with fewer positions.
Various accountability committees chaired by opposition members include public accounts committee on commissions statutory authorities and state enterprises (cosase) chaired by hon. Joel Ssenyonyi (NUP) and deputized by hon. Lucy Akello (FDC),public accounts committee on central government (PAC)chaired by hon. Medard Lubega Ssegona (NUP) and deputized by hon. Asuman Basalirwa (fdc),government assurance and implementation committee chaired by hon. Betty Nambooze Bakireke (NUP) and deputized by hon. Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu (NUP),public accounts committee on local government chaired by hon. Gilbert Olanya (FDC) and deputized by hon.Paulson Luttamaguzi Ssemakula (Democratic Party).
The source also revealed that committee chairpersons and deputy chairpersons receive additional allowances and privileges, earning ugx 170,000 and ugx 110,000 per committee sitting for standing committees, respectively. for sector committees, it is ugx 120,000 and ugx 110,000, respectively. these amounts also include the monthly allowance of ugx 2,400,000.
Faruk Kirunda deputy presidential press secretary said that it looks like the opposition bench does not believe in parliament, where they belong but only associate with it in “serving time”, questioning what difference it make if they boycott nonpaying plenary sessions and attend committees packed with allowances, where they still sign for attendance and sign for allowances and the same house presided over by the same leadership, they claim to reject.
“how can they accuse the “devil” while dancing and dining with it, that is why i think the opposition should resign from parliament and stop fooling ugandans, with butter-oiled lips and honey-dipped fingers, why don’t they expose the fat benefits they are taking home from government,” said Kirunda.
He concludes that the noblest course of action for the opposition, particularly the nup, is to reveal their substantial benefits, either resign from parliament or stop their double standards. he emphasizes that the intelligent ugandan population will not be fooled for long and can see through their action.(explorer)