I may sound controversial, but anger by Members of Parliament and sections of the public against Mr Museveni and the Executive on how much money Parliament appropriated to State House and other government agencies cannot save MPs and Parliament the embarrassment.
To them, we should keep quiet because what they shared was “little” compared to what other Ministries, Departments and Agencies received.
First, Parliament is obligated by law to legislate, appropriate and do oversight. This duty is imposed by the Constitution and the relevant Act.
Parliament has its code of conduct which, among other things, requires MPs and Parliament to do their work with integrity and independency.
Therefore, in the case of Covid-19 budget, receiving cash in your personal account can easily be interpreted as a bribe. Soliciting for money or call it arm- twisting the Executive to appropriate money or pass a law is in violation of the leadership code, the Parliamentary code of conduct and the Constitution.
Unfortunately, over the years the citizens of Uganda have got accustomed to seeing or hearing about MPs sharing money (receiving extra money) whenever there is a bill or supplementary budget that they think may not be relevant to the country but presents an opportunity for them to receive money before they pass such a bill, a budget proposal or a government loan.
This has exposed MPs as politicians at the market place with a price tag. If you have turned yourselves into a commodity for sale to the extent of appearing irrelevant to the country, then the buyer will definitely buy you very cheaply and black mail you at the same time.
Now the irrelevancy of MPs is being manifested in the following ways :
1.MPs struggling to buy ambulances to please constituents because they have failed to appropriate for ambulances under the Ministry of Health budget.
2. Parliamentarians lining up at Kapeeka/Ssemuto to request for seedlings of coffee and onions seeds from the commander of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) instead of monitoring the programme and its performance since they began giving it money.
3.Becoming masters of burials in villages to show relevance that they care.
4..Struggling to buy newspaper old exams papers and revision questions for primary schools because rural schools have no text books instead of appropriating for materials through the Ministry of Education.
What do we need to make Parliament useful to Ugandans?.
1. Deliberate actions to reduce the emoluments to MPs by three quarters. This will reduce monetisation of parliamentary elections because coming to Parliament will not be looked at as a business.
2. The constituencies should be reduced in number and some special interest groups should be phased out.
3. Women MPs on affirmative action should serve two terms and leave to enable other women to come up. Let those who are empowered shift and contest with men.
Gerald Werikhe Wanzala