KAMPALA – The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has accused President Museveni of hiding behind the rising budget for security and defence to raise money for his campaigns.
Addressing a press conference at their party headquarters in Najjanankumbi near Kampala on Monday, FDC spokesman Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said the defence budget has increased by about UGX2 trillion in the last two financial years, which is suspicious.
“We are concerned with the unexplained sharp increase of the country’s security and defense expenditure. The defense budget has increased from Shs1.3 trillion in the financial year 2017/2018 to Shs2 trillion in 2018/2019 to now the proposed Shs3.5 trillion in the 2019/2020 budget which Parliament is about to pass,” Mr Ssemujju said.
“Significantly to note is the fact that classified expenditure has also correspondingly increased from Shs 347 billion in 2017, to Shs 640 billion in 2018 and to2.1 trillion in the new budget of 2019/2020. Our suspicion is that Mr. Museveni is hiding money but both under defense and classified expenditure to procure votes,” he added.
President Museveni is currently on a countrywide anti-poverty campaign but Mr Ssemujju said the Head of State is spending billions of shillings on the tour yet key sectors of the economy lack funds to operate.
“He has now embarked on a dubious poverty alleviation tour which is purely voted seeking. He is spending billions on these tours yet critical sectors of the economy such as health and education remain un or under-funded. It is the reason teachers want to go on strike and we support them. They are paid poorly and to now their April salary remain unpaid. Since donors are financing more than a quarter of our budget, they need to hold Museveni accountable. Money which Museveni will donate has increased from Shs 80 billion to Shs200 billion. This is three times bigger than Mulago’s Shs 71 billion annual Budgets,” Mr Ssemujju said.
He reiterated FDC’s decision to boycott meetings organised by the Inter-Party Organization (IPOD) summit, which he attributed to the hostile political environment.
“The reason for none attendances are as they were in December last year during a similar IPOD Summit meeting in Munyonyo. These include but not limited to the following; Violent and brutal crackdown on our political activities by the military, police and other security agencies on the order of the NRM Chairman. He admitted giving such orders in his April 28th media statement. Our leaders mainly the Party President Eng. Patrick Oboi Amuriat and the peoples’ President Rt. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye have been repeatedly teargased and brutally arrested. Radio stations hosting FDC leaders have been switched off by or on the orders of Resident District Commissioners who are directly appointed and supervised by Mr. Museveni. The Leaders are supposed to present views and feelings of Party leaders and members at such important meetings. At the moment, we are unable to meet FDC leaders and supporters who are the real owners of this Party. If our colleagues have another mechanism of collecting views from their members other than meetings, for us we are not in position.”