BY Richard Jomeo
GUKU-UGANDA: Supplementary budgets and it’s sources (loan in billions) Lock down and its political consequences on partisan and institutional politics- IPOD role not recognised by one of its own National chairman of political party (although members are at the forefront of strategic leadership and direction- summit, council and secretariat-are all members of national task force; both DP and NRM offered donations too)…
Then comes the allocations 165 m sent to CAO much lower than any district budget and district specific allocations by Parliament and 58m all sent to RDCs for allowances, fuel and consumables e.g. lunch, refreshments, 400 billion to state house etc not for buying medical supplies as the public is influenced to think. MoH is to deliver consignment of assorted medical supplies.
At the District task force, members are operating as if no fund has been allocated by parliament ” they are managing”
Without facilitation or even Personal protective gadgets- even half jackets are selectively offered. To whom does the district task force owe their budget transparency and accountability…no one knows, the district local government on the other hand is continuing with business as usual through business committee but the public are not privy to processes, procedures and legal consequences on some errors…all concerned with millions of tax payers money.
MPs being made members of District Task Force- ego and perception-for an MP to be seen to be begging for COVID fuel from CAOs, all leaders across the board have to operate as if, they do not have operational budgets or mileage allowances for fuel but stretch further COVID fuel… creating further operational challenges from tax payers money
Then comes the parliamentary drama for comprehension! An MP challanges a decision of Parliament in High Court; Court makes a temporary order; Speaker of Parliament runs to AG for advice; AG advises, speaker is not happy with advice and says she’s not bound by the advice which she personally sought; MPs tell the speaker that the banks are not paying out the funds because of the court order; Speaker threatens to take Banks to the same court whose order she’s not willing to honor so that the banks are compelled to pay!
The long awaited court order is out finally 29th April 2020. The irony is that, there seems to be no legal framework for MPs to withdraw money as for personal use and deposit to District account. Accountability mechanisms at that transaction is not permissible either by Public Finance Act.
There is also no precedent whereby Parliament disbursed money direct to Districts? if possible, then Under which law? And to the best of my knowledge, minister of finance performs delegated function for and on behalf of the president of the republic of Uganda. And besides, who ascends bills into law.
At the time of ascention the president okayed money to MPs- that explains the confidence of right honourable speaker ” no MP should talk about the money but rather Parliamentary commission and who are these commissioners if I may inquire? They includes Right honourable speaker (NRM),
Deputy speaker of Parliament (NRM), Leader of Opposition (FDC), Prime Minister (NRM) 4 back bench members of parliament out of whom 3 are NRM members and 1 is from the opposition” all are members of political parties represented in parliament.
What then was the institutional political position of these parties that these MPs belong, what institutional political operational procedure was granted just like parliament is an institution to enable political party institutions function and possibly prevail over their members whose discipline lies under PP&OA and by President turning around and saying the contrary- he is a politician playing by the gallery.
When MPs return the money to Parliament, it will require parliament to appropriate the money to the districts again in a suplementary appropriation of 10 bn.
Institutional politics and the law is at great tests here. The circular from the permanent secretary to the treasury dated 28th April 2020 directs all donations and funds to district or national task force must be deposited to the centrally controlled bank account- will that fund when deposited be used at the District as all expects?. All donations that goes into that account has to be centralized!.
When will it reach the districts especially our regions?I do bet whether Districts will get that money.
Parliamentary back bench commissioners have failed in their duties Public Relations Office has been poor on MPs, they have a duty to explain this shame….why did the MPs get the money in the first place yet they never asked for it.
Speaker is in the know that MPs receive their operational funds inform of facilitation not for personal use although this parliament have played to the gallery by acting as if they are governments and promoted electoral bribery and transactional political thuggery – cash in return for passing controversial bills.
Investment is required on Public Relations Office of Parliament as that office puts both institution and MP’s at disrepute and most of our MP’s have not invested their time and resources on research and most of their personal assistants are not competently qualified to deal with institutional politics and state power possibly because.
such Personal Assistants are costly and to outsource One, the operational environment is so volatile that requires trusts and integrity at both ends -tests of morality and the law. And most of them are not pro strong family institutional building that is achieved through grassroots mobilization and organisation.
Reading from his own book ” Sowing the mustard seed original and my life journey of the first lady” I would allege that the President is after something more serious- and that could be Land amendment but would like to score through managing public opinion against MPs (it’s a political science he learnt from the late Milton Obote- how would the pigeon hall constitution be passed without public protests?).
The other safenet would have been to strengthen regional lobbying platforms such as Buganda Parliamentary Caucus but Mengo’s new approach of negotiating directly with central government their interests bypassing Buganda MPs..
.speak volume in anticipation; Acoli Parliamentary Group …is glued to historical gains of former MPs who are no longer MPs…. that speaks to either capacity, leadership style or integrity and lack of public confidence in the current breed of leaders but it could have been a bullet proof to individual MPs against the political trickery bullets of political mastery in quasi military government.
With COVID-19 and the political complications of lock down, new city excitements and debate over postponement of elections, Ugandans should simply prepare for more uncertain times ahead – or what we may term as, the new normal