Women NRM legislators on Friday night trooped to the Chief Whip’s office to pick an unspecified amount of money amidst claims that they were receiving a token from the President in appreciation of the recently sealed fifth term deal for his sole candidature.
Ordinarily, MPs are supposed to get paid through the official Parliament account but the female legislators on the eve of International Women’s Day queued at Ms Justine Lumumba’s office as late as 10pm to get their share after heavily guarded security cordoned off the fourth floor.
The Daily Monitor could not independently verify claims that Shs5 million is what was given out and that it was being given as a bribe to the MPs for endorsing President Museveni’s candidature in the run up to the 2016 elections.
When asked about the late night cash hand outs, the caucus treasurer, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, (Kibaale Woman MP) who is understood to have been giving out the cash, said the money had been given by President Museveni to facilitate NRM women travelling to Kumi to celebrate Women’s Day.
“Each woman was given Shs200,000. Those saying I am giving out money simply just want to tarnish my name and this is very unfortunate. It is the women that requested for the money saying they wanted to travel with other women leaders” she said.
MPs of the 7th Parliament received Shs5 million each in 2005 to amend the Constitution and remove presidential term limits.
Asked about the matter, Parliament spokesperson, Ms Hellen Kaweesa said; “We handle money that comes officially through the Parliament account so we do not get involved in private affairs of parties.”
Attempts to get a comment from the Chief Whip, Lumumba and the NRM Caucus spokesperson, Ms Evelyn Anite, were futile as Ms Lumumba, could not pick repeated calls. Ms Anite’s phone was switched off.
Meanwhile, NRM legislators will today converge at State House Entebbe for yet another meeting, the third in a space of less than a week.
“We are going to meet to reflect on the scenarios that we have gone through as a party and prepare how we will handle party primaries come 2016,” said Mr David Bahati, the caucus vice chairman.
However, Mr Mbabazi told the Daily Monitor that today’s meeting is part of the President’s efforts to correct “misrepresentations” in the caucus.
“We are making good progress because we are talking, we are having another caucus meeting [today] and CEC will meet on Tuesday in case you didn’t know,” said Mr Mbabazi.
The last two caucuses, that preceded the February Kyankwanzi meet, were stormy with MPs eating into Mbabazi over what they referred to as misuse of party structures by Premier Mbabazi and his wife to propel self to the Party presidency and later to be the party’s flag bearer come the 2016 elections.
In the last caucus, the MPs resolved that minister in charge of political mobilization moves to the party’s headquarters at Plot 10 Kyadondo to run the day-to-day activities of the secretary general so that the Mbabazi, who is also the dully elected party SG concentrates on his duties as the Premier.