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    OPINION: 10bn ‘Cut’ From COVID-19 Budget Earns MPs A Prime Place On The Wall Of Shame – DP Boss Mao…

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    The air is now clear. The head of the legislature, Speaker Kadaga, put up a spirited but unconvincing defense of the 10bn/- the MPs allocated themselves. “We have ambulances commandeered by the Ministry of Health. The drivers have to be paid and ambulances serviced. MPs are also busy on advocacy. Committees are following up on what is happening in hospitals and they are reporting to the country”, she tweeted via her official Tweeter account.

    This admission comes at a time when public officials should be tightening their belts and leading by example in this season of living in reduced circumstances. MPs have watered the seedbed of corruption before but to wield the budgetary carving knife and get themselves a “cut” of 10bn/- is a scandal. The 10bn/- allocation to themselves now adds insult to injury. It is not only an outrage but flies in the face of the Ministry of Health’s lamentation about lack of protective gear for health workers at the frontline of combatting COVID-19.

    This shameless abuse of power was first shrouded in secrecy with most of the mainstream media shying away from reporting it. This is no surprise. Parliament is a big source of advertising revenue and no media house would want to be on the wrong side of the all powerful House Speaker. It was the daring online publications that blew the whistle. They were the first to report the stench emanating from parliament over the waylaying of funds intended to fight COVID-19. All round condemnation then followed. An outraged public took to social media to condemn this despicable act. I’m sure if it were not for the lockdown, a few pigs, appropriately named after the members of the Parliamentary Commission the Speaker chairs, would have been released on Parliamentary Avenue!

    Anyone who defends this abuse of power should let the public know what kind of work plan the MPs would adopt to spend the 10bn/-. The Speaker only gave a vague and generalized task list to justify the allocation. MPs are among the most well facilitated public officials. The extra facilitation at a time when those at the frontline of the anti-COVID-19 fight are cash strapped is abominable and repugnant. At best the money was a kind of kickback based on a conspiracy between the MPs and those who intend to embezzle chunks of the money once it leaves the treasury. We acknowledge of course the vigilance of the MPs, with public support, to remove ridiculous items like outdoor advertising through billboards!

    Let’s look at what this money can do. 10bn/- can put up 100 basic Intensive Care Units (ICUs) with each costing 100m/-. It can procure 52 brand new 4 Wheel Drive Toyota Double Cabin Pick Ups. Build and equip 30 Health Centre IIIs, each costing about 300m/-. Build and furnish 70 basic Primary Schools each costing about 150m/-.

    In terms of feeding vulnerable households during the 21 day lockdown, 10bn/- can feed 48,000 households or 192,000 people for the duration of the 21 day lockdown.

    Put another way, during the 21 day lockdown each MP will be eating 952,380/- a day. That comes to 317,460/- per meal. Yet the ordinary vulnerable Ugandan (‘omuntu wa wansi’ in Luganda or the ‘walala hoi’ in Swahili), if lucky, will eat an average of 10,000/- a day per household of 4. That makes 2,500/- per person per day. That means 833/- per meal. In short, for each meal the deprived average Ugandan eats during the 21 day lockdown, each MP will eat 381 meals. There is the score. Wanainchi 1. MPs 381!

    If ever there will be a Wall of Shame after the Coronavirus pandemic has receded, the MPs have earned themselves a prime place on it. The right thing for parliament to do is to redeem the image of the institution by giving the money back to the Ministry of Health as overtime allowances for doctors and nurses. At the very least we expect individual MPs with a sense of honour to donate the money to Uganda Red Cross!

     

    The writer is the Democratic Party President

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    NATIONAL

    Panic In UPDF As Furious M7 Gives Gen Okidi’s Team Two Weeks To Give Him Detailed Report On Why Army Helicopters Are Crashing…

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    One of the army helicopters that crashed recently

    A furious President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who is the Commander-In-Chief has ordered Maj. Gen. Charles Okidi’s team to present to him a detailed report on why Uganda People’s Defense Forces(UPDF) helicopter crashed in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) and killed the country’s soldiers including a Ukrainian national who was the pilot.

    Brig. Gen. Felix Kulayigye, the UPDF spokesperson confirmed the incident explaining that as usual when such incidents happen, the president orders for investigations.

    According to Reuters, more than 22 UPDF soldiers have died in two separate helicopter crash incidents inside DRC where the country’s commandos are fighting the deadly Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorists who have been frequently killing Ugandan and Congolese nationals.

    However, Gen. Kulayigye rubbished Reuters reporting on the number of UPDF soldiers who have died in the incident but confirmed that Yury Vyshykvy, the Ukrainian national who was the pilot of the Russian made Mi-17 died on spot and together with two Congolese nationals.

    Sources in UPDF have revealed that president Museveni has directed that the concerned persons should inform the deceased’s next of kin over the death of their people.

    Mi-17 crashed few minutes after delivering food and medicine consignment to the UPDF commandos who are fighting ADF terrorists in Eastern DRC and a number of causalities were rushed to Bombo Military hospital for further medical attention.

    Sources in UPDF disclosed that the president wants to establish why the forces’ newly acquired military helicopters are crashing.

    The DRC accident happened a day after another Mi-24 also crashed in Fort Portal.

    Fortunately, no person died in that particular accident.

    Sources noted that like other military helicopter accidents, Gen Okidi’s report will not be made public but will be given to the assigning officer.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    We Don’t Want A Country Where People Are Being Picked Up By Drones And No One Is Held Accountable – Muntu Warns On Rampant Broad Day Light Kidnaps…

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    Mugisha Muntu

    Former presidential candidate, Gen. Mugisha Muntu has warned on the rampant abductions that have taken lead in the country.

    Muntu statement was premised on the rising cases of gunmen picking civilians off the streets or their homes in drones.

    Muntu emphasized that they don’t want a country where people are being picked up by drones and no one is held accountable, and the government doesn’t speak out even when issues are raised.

    “What we see currently on the surface of things seems to be calmness, but beneath is a situation that we all need to focus on.”

    He explained, “We have two forms of fear. One is the fear that is deeply engraved in the minds of those people in power. They fear relinquishing power, and therefore, it drives them to do the things they do.

    “Unfortunately, in this country, we have never had a peaceful transition, which is abnormal, and therefore, we need to focus on where we are heading. It is not too late.”

    Muntu insisted that they need to use the platforms where they can speak and break the culture of impunity that keeps growing.

    “The principle of separation of powers in institutions is not working. Parliament is just a shadow of what Parliament is supposed to be. On the surface you might think that there is peace but below, the situation is worrisome,” he intimated.

    He added that sectarianism is a symptom of a larger problem.

    “If we want to have fairness, we have to ensure that whatever we practise, is rooted in these values of fairness, justice and equity, among others.”

    Muntu made the remarks at Golf Course hotel today during a Public Dialogue under the theme ‘Ending Secretarianism and Tribalism.’

    Today, a man in civilian attire accompanied by the three men wearing military fatigue and armed with assault rifles kidnapped Mr. Rafik Khan, a car dealer at Kireka C in Kira Municipality, Wakiso District at 5pm.

    Residents and Mr. Khan’s colleagues looked on helplessly as the armed men dragged the businessman into a waiting Toyota Probox car.

    This is on the heels of over 15 NUP supporters who have recently been arrested from various parts of the country by men moving in drones.

    Democratic Party president, Nobert Mao, who also doubles as the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs hailed Muntu for taking a strong stand against extra-judicial killings by those who wanted to take the law into their own hands.

    He argued that as they discuss the framework for the truth and reconciliation process, they must agree on what truth and reconciliation are not.

    “I have to give credit to Gen. Mugisha Muntu because of his militant and strong stand against extra-judicial killings by those who wanted to take the law into their own hands,” he adduced.

    He maintained, “Let me state what the truth and reconciliation process is not. It is not good to be confused about the aims of the truth and reconciliation process.

    “The truth and reconciliation process should not conduct a formal legal process and should not duplicate the work of criminal investigations, initiate court actions, among others, on matters already covered by other organs.”

    Mao noted that however, there are some trends that will lead them to conclude that colonialism played an important role in the false start that Uganda made as they headed towards independence and the years after, adding that he doesn’t believe that all the blame goes to the colonialists.

    “The North is seen as the “underprivileged backyard”. As Uganda went to independence, historical accidents disarmed the north of their fears that they had a position in an independent Uganda.”

    He propounded, ” Therefore, even a Munyankole that has made money is seen to have been corrupt. An Acholi who hasn’t killed anybody when they go to Luwero will be a suspect.

    “There was perceived dominance of the North, Baganda, and western Uganda. This was looked at as a problem that should be seen through sectarian lenses.”

    Mao therefore emphasized that a national truth and reconciliation process is the only thing that can salvage this country.

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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    NATIONAL

    Fights In Bobi Wine’s NUP: KCCA Councillor Cited In Kyagulanyi, MP Kagabo Disturbing Leaked Audio Recording…

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    Hakim Kizza, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Secretary for engineering and technical services, who is also the Lubya Parish representative in Lord Mayor Ssalongo Erias Lukwago’s city council has cleared the air on the allegations that he has a hand in the leaked disturbing audio recording where embattled Bukoto South Member of Parliament Twaha Kagabo is revealing secrets about NUP party and his principal Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine).

    In the leaked audio, Kagabo is heard confessing to a friend via phone that he is not in NUP because he loves the party so much but he is there because of the political wave.

    He added that many NUP legislators are not happy with Bobi Wine’s leadership style but they have nothing to do because he is popular.

    The recording was leaked a few days ago when Bobi Wine had just praised Kagabo for being a patriotic legislator and very loyal to the party after he accepted his mistake and returned the controversial Shs.40m bribe.

    It should be remembered that Bobi Wine ordered his party legislators to return the Shs.40m bribe which he alleged was given to MPs at the speaker of parliament Annet Anita Among’s home in Nakasero, a Kampala suburb.

    Dr. Kagabo returned the money and accused speaker Among of giving it to him. Suprisingly, he later refuted his early statements against Among and apologised to her.

    Days after apologising and being forgiven by the Speaker, an audio leaked of him blasting Bobi Wine and NUP.

    Kagabo supporters now accuse councillor Kizza of playing on Kagabo’s intelligence and releasing the shocking audio of him blasting his party boss.

    Sources in Bukoto South told theGrapevine that Kizza had intentions to contest for the area parliamentary seat but he was frustrated by NUP leadership in Kamwokya who gave the party ticket to Kagabo.

    Sources added that when Kiiza decided to contest on an independent ticket, he was advised to try another time because it was going to be hard for him to defeat Kagabo who was already armed with a NUP ticket and money.

    He later accepted defeat and stood for KCCA councillor representing the people of Lubya Parish.

    Sources further narrated that Kagabo used a lot of money to get the NUP ticket after first battling for it with Dr. Abed Bwanika who was later forced to shift to Kimanya-Kabonera.

    Sources said that from then, Kiiza has been on ground, which he admitted when contacted.

    “I’m not new in that constituency, he found me there but he used money, but I remained with my people,” Kiiza said.

    He however denied allegations that he was behind the leaked audio recording.

    Kagabo and Kizza’s political fight is one of the many political fights in Bobi Wine’s NUP party.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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