Former MPs Seek Elusive "Akasiimo" Award

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Former MPs Seek Elusive "Akasiimo" Award
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In a display of ironic timing, the Association of Parliamentary Alumni of Uganda, a group of former Members of Parliament (MPs), is requesting President Museveni to honor a past promise. Their request? A "service award" of 100 million Ugandan shillings (about $27,000) for each former MP.

This plea comes eight years after the President supposedly made this pledge, which some are calling "akasimo," a Ugandan term for a gift or reward. The irony lies in the fact that these former lawmakers, entrusted with serving the public good, are now themselves seeking financial assistance.

Jacqueline Kyatuheire, the new chairperson of the association, paints a picture of hardship. "The truth is majority of our members are not doing well," she claims, arguing that their advanced age necessitates financial support.

Their requests extend beyond the elusive "akasimo." The former MPs also seek:

  • Government-funded burials: A taxpayer-funded send-off for those who once represented the people.
  • Pension expansion: Amending the current pension scheme to include MPs from the 1st to the 6th Parliament, who are currently excluded.
  • Health insurance: A subsidized health plan mirroring a portion of what current MPs receive.

However, not everyone sympathizes. Former East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Dan Kidega urges the group to accept their electoral defeats and the changing political landscape. He suggests they "help the young leaders know the priority of the country" instead of focusing solely on their own benefits.

This situation highlights a fascinating intersection of self-interest and public service. While the former MPs served their terms, the question remains: should such generous benefits be bestowed upon them after leaving office, especially when some of their colleagues may be struggling financially? The public will likely debate the merits of these requests, adding another layer of irony to the former MPs' quest for the elusive "akasimo."

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