Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Busoga Sub-region have leaped to the defence of their Members of Parliament (MPs) over their alleged poor performance.
Their defence comes on the heels of a 2018/2019 report authored by the Africa Leadership Institute (ALI), a civil society organisation authorised to assess MPs’ performance, which indicated that the five MPs representing PWDs performed poorly in areas assessed.
The assessed PWDs MPs include Ms Hellen Grace Asamo, Mr Alex Ndeezi, Mr Wilson Nokrach, Ms Safia Nalule Juuko and Mr Hood Katuramu.
However, Ms Nalule, Mr Katuramu and Nokrach lost their re-election bid in the recently held elections.
According to the report, the PWDs representatives failed to go back to voters after election, or legislate and present petitions on issues affecting PWDs.
Ms Rael Cheptoris, the ALI head of monitoring and evaluation, told Sunday Monitor that the report was released last year, but the Braille version for the visually-impaired delayed to come out due to financial constraints.
Ms Cheptoris, who gathered PWDs in Jinja City for distribution of the Braille copy of the report, called for reactions to findings in the report.
The PWDs, however, in their submission, defended their MPs on their alleged failure to reach out to them after being voted, saying they (MPs) explained that the money given to them as constituency fee is little yet they cover many districts.
“Our MPs get the same money for the constituency as those representing small constituencies; so you cannot expect them to reach us,’’ Ms Christine Nsungu, the female PWD councilor-elect for Jinja Rural District, said.
She instead advised ALI to compel Parliament to increase the constituency fund for PWDs MPs if there is need for timely visits to their constituents.
Other PWDs, however, blamed the poor underperformance of the PWDs MPs, according to the report, on corrupt voters, adding that PWDs MPs give money to voters every time they need them.
“As voters, we expect to be given money, both during and after elections; so we scare these MPs from coming back when they go through,’’ said Mr Kaganda Barugahare, a PWD from Kamuli District.
He added that MPs do not take issues affecting PWDs to Parliament because they are always thinking about money paid to voters.
The PWDs further challenged ALI to first educate voters on the roles of their MPs and the dangers of being bribed, before conducting their surveys.
Mr Muzamil Musembya, the chairperson of Jinja District Association of the Blind (JDAB), asked members of the PWDs fraternity to stop thinking in monetary terms every time they see their leaders, adding that PWDs miss out on benefits from their leaders due to unnecessary and repetitive demands for money.