KAMPALA, Uganda: On Wednesday, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni set a milestone in the timeless leadership of Uganda the moment he signed the bill of tax exemption to the members of parliament. In Uganda, things like these never make news at all but for the matter of time, God, maybe, will judge this one.
It sets a great precedent that the age limit cap is now literally removed. We have 426 members of parliament of which many are for ‘kisanja hakuna mchezo aka mchuzi; it doesn’t matter now. With issues to do with money or salary we have seen many of our members of parliament on all political divide equally agreeing without fear or favor.
Yes, Ugandans have all cried foul about these MPs but again they are the same as we’re. If it was one of us, it could have been even worse, for it’s we who vote them. The reason I’m advocating for here is the truth that, these MPs come from the same corrupt communities yet we’re a country filled with worshipping places like shrines for the traditionalists, churches for the Christians in a combination and indeed mosques for the Muslims.
All these Ugandans pray in different languages but still corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds are the chief allies of all of us. Those in offices claim to resent it but even the civil society organizations are the same as those they claim to outwit. The moment you ask a Ugandan issues of accountability, you land into trouble as it is the most difficult thing to give.
Actually MPs taking 41.57 billion shillings into their pockets are just something very small. In fact its real pocket change to the many Ugandan thieves in the name of ‘corrupt officials.’ Recently, Ms. Allen Kagina walked away with just an apology after paying UGX381Bn to a ghost Chinese company. How do you feel if you’re an MP who is eager never to pay taxes? It is obvious therefore that one might feel cheated if the government collects taxes when the monies or the same taxes are just given away.
Not only Kagina. There have been many corruption scandals. Again UNRA officials slipped over 1500 km of road monies into their pockets, to go with Justice Catherine Bamugemereire’s findings. As I write this the scandals at UBC after the Hon. Muhanga land title saga are just escalating as the alleged takeover is in the January transfer window. You may doubt this one for a minute but if you live in a country where editing a birth certificate of date of birth is possible, then better get a cold beer drink of your choice and wait for the D-day, come 2021.
This has been observed as Justice Steven Kavuma, the Deputy Chief Judge edited categorically his age with the intention of failing the retirement law. Thus, these are some of the examples one can point to and just look on as the MPs celebrate a tax-less law.
In a country were the claimed Ugandan – Chinese foreign investors are sand mining in one of the biggest flesh-water lakes the world has, only the devil knows what that means to the different species living in that lake. It is in the same aspect that you can give a look at the example of a prominent pastor seriously duping the government into claims of developing fish ponds yet he was seriously sand-mining! If a man of God can do so, what about any other common Ugandan or the Member of Parliament?
If you critically look at the economic stand of the country and again see the following morning that government has slashed the ministerial budgets not even six months after the budget reading and implementation it generates a lot of confusing questions. I know for sure that the spin doctors on the government side cannot even see the impact of that on the economy or the affected ministries.
The worried opposition spin-doctors also have no clue about that and indeed care about their political worthiness than understanding the plight of all Ugandans. It is a great shame that we can all not see and we keep dumb minus asking any questions. Forget the politicians here, these do not understand it too because they care about their own political games.
Let us take this example. The works and transport ministry has received budget cut an 18.7% (2016-17) while the following budgetary allocations (2017-18) will receive another 17.6% cut. What that means is that these funding shortfalls and budget cuts will lead UNRA into failing to implement its planned activities in the three years. The moment you observe and understand that, then the ‘kisanja hakuna mchezo’ guys continue to dream more of the insane nightmare of the 2020 middle income states as the opposition political thieves also have no idea to propose.
In simplicity that’s the economic tragedy Uganda and the so-called Ugandans are facing until death. Not only the ministry of works affected, there are also energy and mineral development ministry (with 11.6% this year and 14.1% the following year), education ministry with 12% this year and 10.1% the following year. The rest are bulked in security, health, justice, agriculture, lands and among others.
With such an analytical look at the state of economy against the backdrop of the tax exemption of our loved and dear legislatures, we can all conclude that, not all is well in Uganda’s heaven. Philosophically speaking, the ‘Honorables’ might celebrate the win over the president as for the third time the president accepted to sign the bill into law, the tragedy ahead is our future as a nation.
The president now will have a soft and easy talk with the MPs in convincing them to accept the age limit change in the constitution because no Ugandan will care upon its arrival on the floor of parliament. They will all sing loudly ‘aye aye’ to the age limit issue. The devil isn’t the only liar until you meet a Ugandan legislator form all categories of the ravaged political clubs in Uganda. Akuume and merry Christmas to all of you; especially this column readers!