Former MPs call for divine intervention in Parliament amidst corruption allegations

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Former MPs call for divine intervention in Parliament amidst corruption allegations
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Former members of Parliament have expressed their concern over the unprofessional conduct of business in Parliament, stating that urgent measures are needed to save the August House from its current state of affairs.

These remarks were made during a one-day symposium on governance challenges in Uganda, focusing on the state of affairs in Parliament today and the welfare of MPs after their tenure.

The event was organised by the Parliamentary Alumni Association (PAU), which was established in 2019 to unite former legislators and address issues for the betterment of the country.

The MPs also strongly condemned the rampant corruption within Parliament and emphasised the need for spiritual intervention to rectify the situation.

Beatrice Birungi Kiraso, the former Member of Parliament for Kabarole District, lamented that Parliament has become self-centred while the economy is struggling and essential social services are lacking.

She questioned whether the public truly appreciates the role of parliamentary leaders.

"We are being perceived as going to Parliament solely for personal gain. It is shameful that we authenticate this assertion by the large sums of money we carry back home to distribute among constituents in exchange for their votes. We, as leaders, are part of the problem," she stated.

"We cannot ignore what is happening in Parliament," she continued.

"Voter apathy is evident in the significant turnover of new and old members. We cannot shy away from these facts."

Gaudioso Kabondo Tindamanyire, former MP of the 8th Parliament representing Bunyaruguru County and Treasurer of PAU, raised concerns about the declining quality of debates in Parliament.

He attributed this decline to the increasing number of MPs, which leaves little time for meaningful discussions.

"In previous parliaments, such as the 6th, 7th, and 8th, the quality and productivity were very high. We need to reduce the size of our Parliament so that MPs can focus on the issues directly affecting the population," he asserted.

Onapito Ekomoloit, the former MP for Amuria Constituency, expressed disappointment with the current state of affairs in Parliament.

He emphasised the urgent need to salvage the reputation of the institution, noting that its past was far more glorious.

"The Parliament today is perceived as a corrupt place," he remarked.

"It should be a matter of duty and service. You should enter Parliament, serve, and then step aside, as young people are coming up. Wisdom is not monopolised, and no individual should claim to be the sole representative in Parliament," he said.

The UK government recently imposed sanctions on Speaker of Parliament Anita Among and two former ministers, accusing them of involvement in corruption.

This marks the first instance of the UK employing its sanctions regime to address corruption within Uganda.

Under the UK's Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regime, Speaker Among and former ministers Mary Kitutu and Agnes Nandutu, who held positions in the Karamoja region, will face travel bans and asset freezes.

The UK government stated that Kitutu and Nandutu embezzled thousands of iron sheets from a government-funded housing project intended to support vulnerable communities in Karamoja.

Speaker Among was found to have benefitted from the proceeds of this theft.

Chris Obore, the spokesperson for Uganda's Parliament, dismissed the sanctions against the Speaker, attributing them to the UK's dissatisfaction with Uganda's anti-homosexuality legislation.

Obore emphasized that Uganda has established regulatory, investigatory, and disciplinary institutions to combat corruption, and none of them have found the Speaker guilty. He labelled the corruption allegations as politically motivated and driven by personal vendettas.

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