Will you vote an MP who “charges their spouse for sex”?
Uganda’s most quoted commentator and presidential adviser Tamale
Mirundi, at the start of the Corona lockdown, made this assessment of
the country’s members of parliament: “Because they insist on the
president first paying them before they pass any important
legislation, our MPs act exactly like a married woman who sells
kaboozi (sex) to her husband. Tamale said this because there had been questions why parliament
was not being involved by the president before issuing the directives over the Corona emergency.
What Tamale Mirundi meant was that since the country’s laws are made
by the National Assembly with the President, neither of the two parties
should expect, let alone insist, on first being paid by the other to
fulfill their part of the solemn contract that they made with the
citizens. But it happens, just like there are bizarre reports of some
married women who demand cash on delivery before the conjugal rights
are accessed by their lawfully wedded husband.
It is bizarre for MPs to demand payment when an important legislation,
including and especially constitutional amendments, is brought for
their deliberations and enactment. How do they expect the citizens to
view the laws and amendments that are enacted in such a manner? And do
they expect such laws to last?
To begin with, MPs determine their own emoluments. So there is no need for them to seek extra payments to pass certain laws. They should increase their salary if they think it is not enough and should never be seen to seek extra money by dubious
Some say it takes two to tango and blame the president for
yielding to the demands. But like the married men Tamale talked about,
the demands come at a time when the payer has no choice. The woman
does not ask for the payment in the calm setting of their living room
as they watch the evening news. She waits at the critical time when
the poor man’s desire is at the point of no return. Should such a
wife, or MP be trusted?
The president has actually been reported in the past indicating that
according to intelligence, only about seventy of the MPs are
financially solvent, the rest being dangerously indebted. So salary
slips have circulated of MPs whose take home at the end of the month
is sh20,000 ($6), the bulk of the total monthly package (about
$10,000) being captured by creditors who include vicious money
lenders. Can such legislators be trusted?
The levels of some MPs’ concentration and attention to their duties
are also woefully inadequate. Usually alarm is sounded when they open
the Auditor General’s report and they start acting tough. But it
usually transpires that the same matters as raised by the AG could have
been averted if the MPs had done their oversight work properly or if
they had paid attention to the previous Auditor General’s report and
Fake kizike is the answer
The integrity some MPs has often raised concerns in the public. But it
would be unkind to cite examples here, in any case they are rather
many. But let us look at an amendment they made increasing their
tenure to seven years without going back to the voters. If they did
this as an exchange of sorts to remove the aga limits for the
president, they it raises questions over their very understanding of
the law, which law it is their duty to make. You cant help but side
with ‘husband’ when he tricks the woman and gives her a fake kizike
(sh50,000 note) for the kaboozi and let her only realize when she goes
to the market (constitutional court) to realise that the guy had got
his conjugal rights for free for once.
There are times when concern of the MPs for the welfare of the
citizens can be doubted. For years now, they have failed to craft a
real policy to enable all people get access to health care via
national health insurance. But they quickly guaranteed nearly $400
million for a private high cost hospital. Maybe they dreamed that by
the time the Lubowa hospital is completed, they will all still be
enjoying the VIP status and access to state funds to fund their
treatment there. In any case, with Cocid-19, it will be quite a while
before the Ugandan VIPs can fly abroad to have their diseases treated,
so Lubowa Hospital had better be completed fast.
But Ugandans will be going to the polls in less than ten months’ time,
all things constant. The difference with this general elections
compared to previous ones is that the country will be very different,
having been burnt and tested by Covid-19. Will the Ugandans again be
voting back this type of MPs? Tamale doesn’t think so.
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