MPs opposed to age limit removal start speaking in tongues as Shs 29m is released

Nelson Bwire Kapo

Nelson Bwire Kapo

, News

Parliament has released Shs 13 billion for Age Limit consultations, according to the Communications Director Chris Obore.

In a message to Nile Post yesterday, Mr Obore said the money would be deposited to respective MPs’ accounts on Tuesday.

“Yes the money has been released, it will be in their accounts tomorrow (Tuesday) morning,” Obore said.

Each MP will smile to the bank as they go to withdraw Shs 29 million. Nile Post can reliably confirm that by Yesterday evening, certain legislators had already received their share of the money.

One of the legislators who has been very vocal against the age limit amendment, could not hide her excitement when contacted. All clues were leading to the fact that she will not be returning the money to its source as is the case with the rest of the MPs opposed to the amendment.

Previously, opposition legislators led by chief whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda insisted they will not take the “bribe from Museveni” in form of consultation money.

And once contacted, Ssemujju reiterated that indeed, there is no way him and other colleagues opposed to the amendment will take the money.

“We wont take it, the moment we see that money we shall take it back to the treasury,” Ssemujju said.

Other legislators could have used the opportunity to go silent as many of them refused to pick our endless calls.

 

Will they take the money?

Early this month, a group of nine NRM legislators including; Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), John Baptist Nambashe ( Manjiya county), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buwaga West County), Sam Lyomoki (workers), Gaffa Mbwatekamwa (kasambya County) Monica Amoding (Kumi), Sylvia Rwabogo ( Kabarole), Alex Ruhunda (Fort Portal) and Patrick Nsamba (Kasanda north), wrote to president Museveni urging him to resign gracefully.

The MPs stated that they do not support the age limit amendment and are tired of Museveni and his deceitful ways.

However, the group have never made their stand known regarding if they will take the money or not, and indeed when contacted, one of them was happy to receive the money.

The legislator off record maintained they were excited.

“Yes I have received my money,” the legislator who has recently been opposed to the age limit said in excitement

 

They clash

On what they intend to use the money once it comes, the same legislators had no common positon.

Nambashe said the NRM legislators opposed to the amendment would pool the money to battle social economic challenges once every member had received their bit.

Meanwhile his colleague, Tinkasiimire said: “It is not necessary and I will not take it, I do not need to take it.”

What do others say?

Kalungu West MP, Joseph Ssewungu says he is waiting for the money very fast as he intends to buy a public address system for each parish using the money.

Ayivu County MP, Bernard Atiku when contacted said he has not seen the money yet, but will confirm in case it comes through.

Previous cases

At the beginning of the 2001 elections, legislators were given Shs20m each to monitor programs of the National Agriculture Advisory Services.

Four opposition legislators; Nabilah Sempala of Kampala District, Erias Lukwago of Kampala Central, Mukono North’s Betty Nambooze and Latif Ssebagala, Kawempe North, returned the money after Kitgum Woman MP, Beatrice Anywar declared the money was unclean, handing in her share amidst media presence.

In 2004, Shs5 million was given to each NRM MP to amend the Constitution to remove Presidential term limits. No legislator returned the money. However, Lwemiyaga’s Ssekikubo, Nakawa’s Freddie Ruhindi, and Henry Banyenzaki missed out on the “handshake” after failure to prove their allegiance to the party, Ssekikubo later voted in favor of removing term limits. Also Justine Kasule Lumumba (who is now the NRM Secretary General) missed out on the money.

In April 2013, MPs were given Shs5m each on the directive of President to consult their constituents on the controversial marriage and divorce Bill. However, 19 opposition MPs returned the money. The legislators accused the president of using the money to compromise them.

The campaign that was started by Kampala Central MP Mohammad Nsereko and Busongora North MP William Nzoghu, attracted other legislators; Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda (then Kyadondo East),  Betty Nambooze (then Mukono Woman MP), Muhomed Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala), Medard Lubega Ssegona (Busiro East), Mathias Mpuuga (Mukono Municipality), Latif Ssebagala (Kawempe North), Kawe Sebuliba Mutumba (Kawempe South), Dr. Michael Lulume Bayiga (Buikwe South), Moses Kasibante (Lubaga North) and Hussein Kyanjo (Makindye West).

Others included; Budadiri County West Nathan Nandala Mafabi, Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume, Kasese woman MP Winnie Kiza, Gulu woman MP Betty Aol Ocan, Busia municipality MP Kevinah Taaka Wanaha, Mbale municipality MP Jack Wamai Wamanga and Soroti woman MP Angeline Ossege.

At the beginning of political campaigns in 2015, Members of Parliament received Shs100 million each in their personal accounts as fuel arrears to “facilitate” them ahead of the 2016 general election. None returned the money despite opinions relating it to a “timely bribe”.

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