Ssegirinya speaks out on sickness

Mr Muhammad Ssegirinya sits in the aero plane waiting for take off on July 31, 2023. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The MP says he is willing to wash clothes and clean the hospital if he fails to pay the Shs80m medical bill.

Ailing Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya will be forced to do the hospital laundry, should he fail to pay Shs80 million in medical bills, the legislator has said.

Mr Ssegirinya said the Amsterdam Universitair Medische Centra (umc) Hospital, Netherlands, where he has been receiving treatment since August 10 gave him the option of cleaning the hospital or washing its bed sheets if he fails to pay the money.

The hospital resident internal medicine officer, Mr SJ Bogers, in a letter seen by this publication, said Mr Ssegirinya will continue to be their patient for at least another three weeks.

“The situation is worrying and I am only lucky that I am outside the country but if it was in Africa, I would be off treatment now. Here, they agreed to treat me and said if I fail to raise the money, I will clean the hospital and or wash the bed sheets. I told them to go ahead and save my life. I will do as they say,” he told Monitor last Saturday.

He was flown to Germany on August 1, where he has since been receiving specialised treatment following his over one-year stay in prison.

Mr Ssegirinya has accused Parliament of abandoning him, saying it has not extended financial support for his treatment.

He said Parliament is supposed to cater for his medical bills as per sub section 3.5 of the Medical Insurance Scheme Guidelines for Members of Parliament which states: “The members shall be entitled to evacuation in the case of illness and or accident from any part of Uganda to an appropriate medical facility within or outside Uganda.”

Paragraph (II) of the same sub-section adds: “Should it be necessary, such a patient shall be evacuated by way of worldwide rescue cover in a medical emergency to medical hospitals/ facilities outside Uganda as shall be recommended by the medical practitioner(s)”.

Mr Ssegirinya said with the exception of buying him an air ticket to Nairobi, Parliament has never footed a single medical bill since his travel.

“I have spent my own money now amounting to Shs70 million on medical treatment in Nairobi and here in Germany. I don’t have any money with me, yet the hospital needs money. I don’t know what I will do now,” he said.

The Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Parliament, Mr Chris Obore,  who was unreachable for comment yesterday, told Monitor recently that Parliament cannot abandon its members.

“If he [a lawmaker] is in the country, there is medical insurance and if it is outside, the Parliament funds their medical bill upon clearance by the Parliament medical board...I don’t know whether he went after the clearance or before. But if he went before, the medical board will clear and then money will be released,” he said on August 12.

Mr Ssegirinya yesterday said he travelled before the medical board’s clearance “because I did not know the procedure but I submitted my papers to the office of the Speaker”.

He said he is undergoing treatment for suspected poisoning. But he said doctors have not told him which exact poisonous substances have been discovered. 

“Things are not good at all, remember they first conducted tests and I was told other medical procedures will be conducted when I finish this particular one,” Mr Ssegirinya said.

Probable issue
Mr Muhammad Ssegirinya was released from Luzira prison in  February after he spent 15 months in prison over accusations that he was involved in machete attacks in Masaka.

His health, however, started deteriorating, which prompted him after getting permission and assurance from Parliament, to  fly out of the country for a specialised treatment abroad.The decision was taken after the tests indicated that the MP had lung tumours, which could not adequately be treated in Uganda.