Shs200m for cars not right priority now

Monday July 26 2021

Some of the luxurious cars owned by MPs parked at Parliament. FILE PHOTO

By Guest Writer

July 21 saw all media platforms almost freezing with the headlines of Uganda’s distinguished lawmakers and some other officials experiencing a huge rain of Shs200 million for cars on their accounts.
When asked by the press, Mr Chris Obore, the director of communications and public affairs at Parliament, asserted that members of Parliament get new vehicles every new five year term.
Yes, no one denies the fact that all the 529 lawmakers deserve their privilege, but, why during this critical time? Children are stuck in homes because of school closure, hospitals have no oxygen, people have nothing to eat  while businesses are crippled by the pandemic.
But the government has the audacity to purchase a Shs200m vehicle for a member of Parliament, who has capacity to improvise on the “little” salary that they get. How many bags of maize flour can be bought using Shs200m?
I don’t even think that children should be perishing in villages because of closure of institutions of learning. If government prioritised them, decided to vaccinate students and teachers first, there would be less risk now.
Schools and institutions of learning are not only academic, but also guardians to most young people.
Government needs to understand that  lockdowns will not be a basic solution to the deadly pandemic since even in homes, there are some silent nocturnal evils that may not necessarily spare people’s lives from contracting the highly contagious virus.
Caring for MPs while leaving the majority to die would be a twisted version of the Bible story of the shepherd who ignored the 99 sheep to search for one.
Also, such scenarios kill people’s patriotism. The previous lockdown saw different people and companies wholeheartedly donate to government. But, with the disbursement of Shs200m to  529 “rich people”, will the individual contribute a single coin to a common cause again?
Being a lawmaker has been wrongly perceived by the many as an opportunity to accumulate wealth. Why should the government behave in a way that will always vindicate people’s biases?
 Sadly, our self-proclaimed “patriotic” are silent now. I presume if  our lawmakers really understood the upheaval that the pandemic has caused to the nation, this would be the right time for them to prove their patriotism.
Will our MPs comfortably ride in a Shs200m machine, when they  go to bury the electorate, or meet those  yawning because of biting hunger? Will they be comfortable?
Well, there’s need for proper and fair prioritisation of government implementations. We are in hard times, when, people need government the most. Nobody is against anyone attaining their privileges and entitlements, but, if situations are tough, then, concentration should dwell on tough ones, but not trivial ones.
Our  esteemed lawmakers, I expected you to even be the first people to turn down and postpone the payment as you improvise until the situation first settles a bit
Right now, the nation needs to vaccinate almost half of its population because, this pandemic is highly contagious, it is here to stay and doesn’t discriminate.
Adam  Nuwamanya is a teacher and prospective journalist.