17 February 2012

Uganda: MPs Revealing Details About Car Scheme Risk Suspension

THE Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has warned MPs disclosing information about the car scheme that they would be suspended.

Each MP is expected to get sh103m to purchase a vehicle to facilitate their travel. But public concerns have been raised on the timing of the release of the money given the current difficult economic situation.

Kadaga said there was a deliberate move to discredit the image of the 9th Parliament because of the reputation it has gained in tackling corruption. "If it is an MP we shall suspend the MP. If it is a member of staff we shall take action," she warned. Kadaga last week said no money had been released by government for the cars.

Kadaga said MPs were entitled to transport facilitation just like RCDs, judges and LCV chairpersons. "If they are serious let them complain about the ministers cars," she said.

The warning came after Richard Ssebuliba Mutumba (DP) raised concerns about media reports on the car scheme. "There are those who sit with us who say they don't want the money at all. That they want to take it and donate it," Mutumba said.

Mutumba argued that the money to be given for vehicles was too small compared to what was used to purchase vehicles for ministers. He said there was a provision for MPs to get vehicles in addition to the salaries MPs receive. "I am happy to receive it, I can't say I don't want this car," he noted.

Joseph Ssewungu (DP) said those who were writing should be asked how they were fairing. "Those who are writing about us, how are they themselves?" he asked. Ssewungu said media reports in the tabloid newspapers said he was one of the MPs who were broke after taking salary advances to pay off debts.

"I am driving, I have a wife, a house my children are going to school, I am not broke," he stressed. He urged Parliament to look for the source of information to the media.

Medard Bitekyerezo (NRM) said he was not one of the people mudslinging the image of Parliament by saying the money was bad. "I will take the money. I will buy a car if I want. If there is a balance I will take it to my constituency. We are the most smartly dressed MPs, we shall debate very well and we shall fight corruption till the very end," Bitekyerezo said.

Harriet Ntabazi (NRM) accused some opposition MPs or fueling debate on the MPs cars and damaging the reputation of Parliament. She said there was a meeting for the opposition in Jinja where Elijah Okupa (FDC) raised the issue of MPs getting money for cars. "We need the money, we need to travel. RDCs get cars of more than sh100m. Some of us got cars on loan, we need the money to pay off the loans," she said.

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