4 July 2017

Uganda: Bobi Wine - What He Is Expected to Do in Parliament

Photo: BobiWineLive/Facebook
Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu aka Bobi Wine on the campaign trail.

Commonly referred to as the Ghetto president, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu aka Bobi Wine was last week elected to the 10th Parliament, joining a pool of over 427 lawmakers.

Like many others, Mr Kyagulanyi, promised lots of milk, honey and wine to his voters prior to the Election Day. They responded by what has been described as a landslide victory, at least of all by-elections held since the 2016 general elections.

He polled 25,000 votes against his rivals; Mr Sitenda Sebalu's (NRM) 4,556 and Apollo Kantinti (FDC) 1,832 as well as independents Muwada Nkunyingi and Sowedi Kayongo's 575 and 377 respectively to represent Kyaddondo County East.

Most Members of Parliament have been placed under pressure from their voters, asking for social services such as improved health care, better roads, access to clean water and improved schools among others.

Because of this, many candidates vying for these seats have often found themselves singing to the whims of the people yet these services are meant to be provided by the central government.

Kyaddondo East is not an exception.

Many candidates, one after another, kept promising and making pledges ranging from high end capital infrastructure projects such as roads to people's domestic income.

Mr Kyagulanyi, in a sweeping victory speech pledged to stand by the people who have made a historic fulfilment of his hit-song, "Bikwaase Kyagulanyi," (literately implying surrender all your troubles to Kyagulanyi.)

"This is the leadership of the common people... we shall not just have our meetings in Kampala's luxury hotels, but in our homes, schools, hospitals, shops and bufundas across the nation," he said.

"This is where I will be, because that is where most of us are! And this is where we will create the change for which I ran in this election!" Mr Kyagulanyi added.

According to Kyagulanyi (Bobi-Wine), "the resounding victory is a testament that the people of Kyaddondo, and indeed the people of Uganda are ready for a new kind of leadership- a leadership which truly represents them."

To this, he pledged to embark on causing change in small neighborhoods and hopefully to show all the youths all over Uganda that it is possible.

But what is Bobi Wine's role as a legislator?

Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu, as he will be addressed by the Speaker in the House has got peculiar roles, clearly outlined in the Parliamentary rules of procedure and Article 79 of the Constitution.

They include representation, legislation, appropriation and oversight.

Under each role, there is no lobbying specific to the constituency in as much as he may voice the concerns of his people though petitions and matters of national importance.

The rest - legislation, appropriation and oversight are a national function hinged on making laws, giving legislative sanctions and re-aligning the budget and taxation as well as monitoring budget implementation and accountability respectively.

Bobi Wine's rise from the Ghetto weed to activism through music and finally to Parliament, lands him into a new environment where reason must prevail over emotion. He will be expected to counter differences with politeness and Parliamentary decency.

In his written pledge, Mr Kyagulanyi makes seven promises, among them; representing a new generation serves with integrity and hard work, gather community meetings and listening to the priorities of constituents and bringing these priorities to government.

He further promises to focus on building a better future for Uganda, which means standing up against bad governance and corruption, and concentrating on the needs of the youth, while at the same time applying his academic background to educate myself about laws and policies.

"I will share this information with my constituents in a way that is easy to understand and entertaining," Mr Kyagulanyi pledges.

The Ghetto president makes several other pledges hinged on rendering feedback, decisions based not on affiliations but on facts.

All these promises are attainable because they are a core under his direct constitutional mandate as a legislator.

However, the pledges on better roads, improved schools and a formidable health sector may require him to either borrow heavily or totally abandon them to the central government.

Benefits and other emoluments

Bobi Wine will of course receive what every Member of Parliament is entitled to. This includes:

- A consolidated pay of about Shs26m (subject to income tax),

- Monthly gratuity of 30 per cent of his salary

- A car costing not more than Shs200m.

- Medical insurance cover

- An iPad worth Shs3.6m,

- Mileage facilitation of Shs4.5m

- Constituency facilitation (Shs3.2m)

- Monthly subsistence allowance (lunch, tea etc.) of about Shs3m.

- Shs50,000 for every sitting either in a committee or plenary

- Social security benefits of Shs9m per month

- Town running allowances of about Shs1m.

- Per-diem of $520 (about Shs1.87m) when they travel abroad and Shs150,000 for inland travel whenever on official duty.

- Borrowing from the Parliamentary pension fund

- Saving with the Parliamentarians' Sacco which also lends to members at much lower rates compare to banks.

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