Members of the opposition, specifically those opposed to the amendment of the constitution to remove age limits, have said they will not take the Shs20m for constituency consultation.
Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa yesterday said the Parliamentary Commission is considering a budget to facilitate the MPs consultation with constituents on Constitution Amendment Bill 2017.
“The money will be given to members of parliament to do this distinguished role, its not an easy task so they need the money,” Ms Nankabirwa said.
The development means that government will have to find over nine billion shillings to execute the job. There are about 450 MPs in the 10th Parliament.
Usuk County Member of Parliament and commissioner, Peter Ogwang hinted that the money will be got from the supplementary budget since this was an unforeseen circumstance.
“It was unforeseen activity, now that its seen where do you expect us to get the money from, of course from supplementary. It is with in the public finance management Act, it falls with in the 3 percent of what the government is supposed to spend after parliamentary approval,” he said.
However, Kyadondo East MP and FDC spokesperson, Ibrahim Ssemujju said the opposition legislators will not partake of the money.
“Have you heard them give us money on each legislation in parliament, they are creating an opportunity to use tax payers’ money to bribe MPs,” he said.
“MPs don’t need money to go and consult people, that money is given to each one of us twice a month,” Ssemujju added.
Ogwang called upon Ssemujju to appreciate the help being rendered by government by giving legislators the money.
“Ssemujju should just accept that we are helping him consult with his people,” Ogwang said.
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”.