PARLIAMENT- Poverty-stricken former ministers and Members of Parliament have requested the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to use her “influence” and convince President Yoweri Museveni to heal their financial infirmities.
The group is chaired by Mr Joseph Ekemu, former Attorney General in the early days of President Yoweri Museveni’s reign.
Mr Ekemu, was Kaberamaido County MP in the National Resistance Council.
Other members of the group include Ms Beatrice Lagada (Apac), Mr Francis Abura Kene (Moroto) and Anthony Butele (Madi Okolo, Brani Angelo Dradriga (Ayivu) and Mr Emmanuel Othieno Akika, the former MP for West Budama South.
The former MPs confessed to the bewildered Ms Kadaga that they are financially constrained and urgently need a new lease of life.
Their request was presented by Mr Butele, a former Cabinet minister from Karamoja.
“We are requesting you to give us assistance in our welfare move,” Mr Butele said.
The politicians want Ms Kadaga to help them benefit from the Parliamentary Pension Scheme and the Parliamentary Sacco, arguing that hundreds of ex-MPs did not benefit from such schemes.
They also want the Speaker to lobby President Yoweri Museveni to give them jobs in government departments because they have failed to find employment in the private sector.
“We are still able it perform our duties as senior citizens. We are still strong but most of our members have died,” Mr Butele said.
Harsh life outside Parliament
Mr Akika, a former minister of State for water, and MP in the 6th Parliament, narrated to journalists the harsh life after Parliament, saying one can hardy find employment.
“Having been a Member of Parliament, you are used to being in certain circles, certain positions and offices and you do things differently,” he said.
He said MPs often antagonise civil servants while doing their oversight roles in Parliament and when they are out [of Parliament], it’s payback time.
He said the civil servants revenge by denying those jobs.
“Remember you challenge them to account for money allocated to them or produce money they have embezzled. In that process, you step on many toes of heads of government agencies. After Parliament, you meet them in their boardrooms and surely, you cannot succeed,” Mr Akika said.
He said legislators who never got chance to benefit from Parliamentary Pension Scheme, can be included with contributions from government.
“We are not advocating an outright pension now since we are not contributing financially, but some kind of lump-sum, a one off will do in our case,” Mr Akika said.
Ms Kadaga said she had already discussed the need to support former MPs with the President but nothing concrete had been decided.
“There were a number of proposals and the problem is that the Pension Scheme is contributory yet government cannot contribute for those who are out of Parliament,” Ms Kadaga said.
However, she said ex-MPs, except the Adoko Nekyon, the late Karyegyesa and Dr Lumu, were given support of up to shs30 million although the President wants the figure revised further to Shs100 million.