The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has said it is regrettable the government has left Uganda’s missions and embassies abroad to rot away.
“...governments that were blamed for being ‘bad’ managed to get us the most prestigious addresses anywhere,” Ms Kadaga said during plenary on Thursday, April 12.
“And what have we done? We have got ‘slums’ there. In Brussels, we ‘lost’ the ambassador’s residence.”
She said Shs6 billion from Uganda’s inflows from Nairobi, Kenya that should have been used to repair Uganda’s Brussels ambassador’s residence was instead channelled to the Uganda Consolidated Fund.
“We want that money sent to Brussels, Belgium. We are tired of the shame,” Ms Kadaga added.
Her directive followed Aswa MP Reagan Okumu’s statement many Ugandans get embarrassed when they are abroad and foreigners point out the dilapidated state of many a Ugandan mission or embassy abroad.
Mr Okumu said that while some MPs were in Moscow in Russia and Rome in Italy, other countries ambassadors expressed concern about the state of Uganda’s property abroad.
“While we were in Russia, the [high commissioners] of Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa called us aside and they said ‘shame on Uganda.
Uganda never used to be like this; look at where your [high commissioner is living, look at your chancery’!
“When we went to Rome [Italy], we were more embarrassed because our ambassador to Italy was travelling in a very old vehicle, which got stuck in a tunnel and cause traffic jam in Rome. The ambassador’s car had to be towed,” Mr Okumu said.
State Minister for Planning David Bahati said for the next Financial Year, the government has allocated Shs5 billion to its embassy in Belgium.
He added that the government is drawing up a plan on the renovation of its dilapidated missions and embassies.
“As we debate the budget for next financial year, let us look at our priorities,” Mr Bahati said.
“If we think we can adjust the budget, then we do it – because the budget is now in the hands of Parliament and we can adjust to address and emerging issues that we think should be among the priorities.”