Opposition MPs denied access to Lubowa hospital site

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Opposition MPs denied access to Lubowa hospital site
The gate was impenetrable for the legislators.

Allan Mayanja, the Member of Parliament for Nakaseke Central, referred to previous reports that Health minister Ruth Aceng was also denied access to the premises.

KAMPALA | Opposition legislators have been prevented from accessing the construction site of the Lubowa Specialised Hospital, despite the allocation of Shs2.7 billion by Parliament to the Ministry of Health for supervision works at the facility.

Following the incident, Leader of the Opposition Joel Ssenyonyi addressed the media, expressing their intent to carry out their duties.

"We are waiting for the responsible authorities to open the gate for us so that we can enter and investigate what is taking place," he said.

Ssenyonyi said the Ministry of Health is responsible for the project's implementation, and their role is to ensure peace, order, and security.

He further noted that they do not require police security as they feel safe.

However, he suggested that if the authorities insist, they can provide security to the Opposition MPs, who are also taxpayers, so that they can witness the developments at the hospital.

Ssenyonyi also noted that the hospital would be of assistance to the police officers in case they fall ill.

Security operatives stand guard to stop the MPs from accessing the site | Muhammadi Matovu

Reacting to the security blockade at Lubowa, Allan Mayanja, the Member of Parliament for Nakaseke Central, referred to previous reports that Health minister Ruth Aceng was also denied access to the premises.

Mayanja raised concerns about the perceived impunity of the security forces and questioned the extent of power held by Enrica Pinetti, the Italian whose firm Finansi International, was contracted to build Lubowa hospital.

"The impunity we have witnessed today is not new. We need to ask ourselves, who is behind this project? Who is Pinetti to have such influence and receive large sums of money?" he questioned.

Mayanja expressed disappointment that despite the country's investment in the project, they were being barred from entering the site, and their communication with the Leader of the Opposition was limited to a small window.

He also raised suspicions about the heavy deployment of police and army personnel, suggesting the possibility of mining activities at the location.

Mayanja expressed concern about the situation, including the arbitrary arrests of local residents near the premises, and questioned the direction the country was taking.

In January of this year, Dr. Charles Ayume, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Health Committee, called on the government to halt the construction of the Shs 1.44 trillion Lubowa Specialized Hospital.

Ayume cited the country's alarming public debt, which had reached Shs 97 trillion, and emphasised the need for more prudent expenditure.

The Auditor General's report revealed that the controversial Lubowa Specialized Hospital contractor, Finansi International, had been overpaid a staggering amount of Shs64 billion without delivering tangible work.

The project has been at a standstill since 2015, and the report indicated that the project's value was $57,477,000 (about Shs222 billion), while Finansi had received Shs286 billion.

This significant disparity in payment raises serious concerns about accountability and oversight.

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