What you need to know:
- As the Bible aptly says, if your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out.
The largest Opposition party in Parliament, National Unity Platform (NUP), had an eventful week.
The party reportedly ordered its Members of Parliament to return the Shs40 million which was allegedly advanced to them by Parliament for unknown reasons.
This party directive evolved out of reports that the said MPs received Shs40 million each, which most of them were seemingly intent on enjoying under the radar of any public scrutiny.
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That is until some of them grew a conscience and returned the cash that they had allegedly received.
In this context, NUP emerged with a crystalline position regarding where this money was from.
“It turned out that NRM members were receiving this money in cash from Parliament, while Opposition and Independent MPs were receiving it from the home of Ms Anita Among, the Speaker of Parliament,” NUP alleged.
Some MPs were reportedly told that this payout was a token of appreciation, while others were informed that it was to serve as their anchor in the high seas of these cash-deprived economic times.
However, NUP said this money was mere backsheesh, in the absence of any clear explanation about its source and purpose. To NUP, this money was thus unacceptable.
“How can public funds be handled in this manner? A quick summation of these funds shows that the regime is spending more than Shs20 billion on this illegal, immoral and corrupt venture,” NUP said.
These were rich words, especially coming from a party that seems to have no clue that it is being used as a prop in NRM’s façade of democracy.
This façade is based upon the creation of an illusion of democracy as a means of delaying or denying the possibility of democracy in Uganda altogether.
To be sure, this democratic window-dressing is designed to create a favourable impression by creating as many constituencies as possible, at all levels, to make Ugandans feel they have a stake in governance.
But behind this glass-lit squalor is Neopatrimonialism, which is essentially the vertical distribution of resources that gave rise to patron-client networks orbiting around the NRM government.
The President and the party have supplanted the roles of would-be institutions for the benefit of their continued tenure in power.
This state of affairs is largely accepted as kosher because the majority of us rely on this system for our own survival by being given access to State resources through leaders such as MPs.
Thus, when an MP receives any form of cash inducement, s/he is supposed to pay it forward to their constituents in the shape of crumbs which buy their supplications and thereby make them complicit in this system by that very token.
In the process, the nation becomes like the Ouroboros, an ancient Egyptian and Greece emblem of a snake with its tail in its mouth perpetually destroying itself and being reborn from itself.
Although I paint a dire picture, there is a solution: remove the instruments of such neopatrimonialism.
This doesn’t mean returning bribes, it means abolishing Parliament and all said pseudo-democratic institutions to make sure that such corruption is given no quarter whatsoever.
Sure, I understand that Parliament and other such representative bodies serve as conveyor belts of public opinion.
However, when the very foundation of such bodies is disconnected from its essence by an overall dislocated polity, these institutions become counter-intuitive. So, they are useless and must be done away with. Or, as the Bible aptly says in Matthew 5: 29: if your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you.
Mr Phillip Matogo is a professional copywriter.