KAMPALA — One of the most contentious subplots of the coronavirus fight has been Parliament’s decision to allocate every Member of Parliament UGX 20m meant to sensitize their constituents on the marauding coronavirus.
Addressing the country on Tuesday night, President Museveni said this was “bad planning”, and that the move has legal and moral issues.
On the moral side, he said it is unacceptable for MPs “to give themselves money for personal use when the country is in crisis. It is totally unacceptable to me and to the NRM”, a party he leads and national Chairman.
He explained that he discussed the matter with the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga. His argument was that the legislators had “entered into a trap and you should get out of it”.
“And the best way to get out of the trap is to not spend it on yourself. I told the Speaker, “Take that money and donate it to the district taskforce”,” revealed Museveni.
For the MPs that have aready “bought things [with the UGX20m]”, Museveni it is a tricky line to toe, which would only require the Auditor General’s intervention to take a closer look at how exactly the money was spent.
“I know many Ugandans are angry, and may have been diverted from the war [against coronavirus] but don’t be. This will be sorted out,” reassured Museveni.
On Uganda’s economy, the President – once again – dismissed what the doomsayers are saying.
He argued that yes, while some sectors (like tourism) have been inevitably hit, it is not all doom and gloom. Manufacturing can come up
“We are going to make personal protective equipment, medicines, diagnostics, vaccines and sanitizers. So, we just need to adjust. We shall manage.
Uganda’s economy grew highest – by 11% – in 1994. Museveni said at the time, tourism was not the biggest contributor of the GDP.
Against that background, he underlined that Uganda’s economy will grow even if tourism goes down.
He was keen to strike a positive tone as well, by saying that while tourism is one of the vulnerable sectors at the time, it will certainly go back up.