KAMPALA – Parliament Tuesday evening approved the Shs1Trn supplementary request with part of the money meant to cater for President Yoweri Museveni ongoing wealth creation tour across the country.
Documents submitted before Parliament indicate that the Ministry of Finance tabled a number of supplementary requests with one of them amounting to Shs217Bn of which Shs33 .283M will go to State House, while classified budget will account for Shs15.7Bn and Shs17Bn will go for field operations, accommodation, feeding the team accompanying the President during the national tour on wealth creation.
Although members of the Committee agreed to have the Supplementary funding passed, Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo Woman) and Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala County) didn’t go without asking the Office of the President to clean up their House and resist from soiling the name of the President with continuous supplementary funding.
Mr. Muwanga told Parliament that part of the money being requested for is meant to pay off suppliers and arrears accumulated during the recent NRM Caucus meeting in Kyankwanzi that endorsed President Museveni as the sole candidate for life.
He said: “We are still advising that the Fountain of Honour should separate his chairmanship of NRM as a party and being the President of Uganda. His activities of NRM should be divorced from the budget. It should be separated from the Office of President and therefore these expenditures of funding NRM Caucus meetings, Kyankwanzi shouldn’t feature in our budget because those are really political events.”
“We are hesitant to bring the President into this kind of debate, the Fountain of Honour shouldn’t be brought into these matters, it is an office that continues to be subject of petitions, supplementary, you are making the head of state look extremely ugly,” added Kivumbi.
However, a section of MPs defended Museveni’s Wealth creation tours saying the tours are meant to sensitize masses about wealth creation and during these meetings, members come out and endorse him as a sole candidate and the President has no control over such requests.
Opposition Chief Whip, Ibrahim Ssemujju asked NRM MPs not to pretend that the President isn’t campaigning but the fact remains he is using public resources to campaign.
Mr. Ssemujju argued: “Those are resources from the public, in the recent years, State House budget has increased from Shs80 to Shs200Bn that money isn’t enough, we are now providing money for tours. The president is becoming the most expensive leader in the country, actually not only the country but the whole world.”
He questioned how NRM MPs can defend the President’s expenditure when teachers have threatened to strike over pay and the Ministry of Education has said there is no money yet the country has money to fund trips.
“Colleagues are busy clapping the President is handing out money when we have no medicine in hospitals. Maybe there are people who don’t like the President if he was my party chairman I wouldn’t like him the president should be aware of fortune hunters because they don’t care. The whole idea of supplementary is being abused supposed to unforeseeable now we are funding NRM yellow buses,” said Ssemujju.
Ms. Ruth Nankabirwa fired back at Opposition members asking them not to pretend because they are also using their positions of incumbency to disadvantage their political opponents
She said: “There is a problem called incumbent syndrome. What is the problem with President moving the country to be reminded of what he promised? I don’t want to pretend that I will dumb my government car and use my own car. What you are talking about the President, you also do it. We should sit down and find a way of curbing down unnecessary expenses but to say the President will not tour and supporters shouldn’t remind him of what he promised, that is deceiving ourselves.”