Increasing debt has forced former Luweero district Woman MP Rebecca Nalwanga Lukwago to appeal for a Shs 400m cash bailout from President Museveni. An insider State House source said Nalwanga has written to Museveni seeking financial help to settle legal fees piled up from a host of court petitions she filed since her 2011 election to Parliament got challenged by her political rivals.
Our sources say that the letter contains a request to Museveni to help her settle a Shs 400m bill in legal fees. Confirming the developments, Nalwanga told The Observer that she indeed wrote the letter, and that there is "no big deal" about asking her NRM chairman for financial assistant. "Yes, I talked to the chairman of the party, and it is not a big deal to ask for help," she said.
"I wrote the letter, and if they have decided to share it with the media...well, there [is] an intention." Explaining why the amount reached Shs 400m, Nalwanga argued: "I have been in court for eight times" and that "the cost of each petition is Shs 50m." In a closely-contested poll, DP flag bearer Brenda Nabukenya, beat Nalwanga with just 30 votes on November 22, 2011 after the latter's victory was successfully challenged in court.
Nalwanga disputed the outcome of the results, filed a complaint calling for a recount. Six candidates: Nabukenya (DP), Nalwanga (NRM), Zaidah Gwokyalya (FDC), independents Elsie Nnamagambe and Annah Asiimwe Kirabo contested in the by-election that also included her archrival Elizabeth Lugudde-Katwe Nabatanzi, who had won the electoral petition that challenged Nalwanga's win, on grounds of electoral malpractice.
In her petition, Nabatanzi claimed that the 2011 parliamentary elections were marred by voter bribery and rigging amongst other accusations, and High Court Judge Benjamin Kabiito overturned the election of Nalwanga as Luweero Woman MP. Well, among other things that explain the financial woes of lawmakers, are the heavy legal fees that they face following several court petitions that arise upon their election into Parliament.
The Observer last week ran a story of how lawmakers turned a meeting with Museveni into a begging spree to solve their financial woes (see, Broke MPs plead with Museveni