Another Car Bonanza On Taxpayers’ Money! Former VP Edward Ssekandi To Receive Second Car In One Month Amidst Public Outcry

Another Car Bonanza On Taxpayers’ Money! Former VP Edward Ssekandi To Receive Second Car In One Month Amidst Public Outcry

By Spy Uganda

Kampala: Another Car Bonanza On Taxpayers’ – Former Vice President Edward Ssekandi Set To Receive Second Car In One Month Amidst Public Outcry

Fresh from the recent gift of an expensive new car as the former Speaker of Parliament, Edward Ssekandi is now warming up to receive yet another luxury vehicle from the government, this time in his capacity as the former Vice President.

Ssekandi, who presided over the legislature from 2001 to 2011, joined the ranks of five former Speakers of Parliament, including Rebecca Kadaga, currently the 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs, in receiving brand-new cars courtesy of Speaker Anita Among on behalf of the Parliamentary Commission last December. Other recipients were Edward Rugumayo, Francis Butagira, and Al Haji Moses Kigongo, Vice Chairman NRC 1986-1996.

Barely a month after the public outcry caused by Parliament’s decision to furnish former Speakers with luxurious cars, the Ministry of Public Service has triggered a fresh wave of criticism after they requested a whooping UGX 7.2 billion to procure similar vehicles for former Vice Presidents and Prime Ministers as part of their retirement benefits.

Catherine Bitarakwate, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service, defended the request before Parliament’s Committee of Public Service and Local Government noting that it is a statutory obligation in compliance with the Emoluments and Benefits of the President, Vice President, and Prime Minister Act 2010, scheduled to be fulfilled in the fiscal year 2021/22.

“This is a statutory obligation in fulfilment of the provisions of the Emoluments and benefits of the President, Vice President and Prime Minister Act 2010 and fell due in FY2021/22,” Bitarakwate said before the committee.

Among the former leaders expected to benefit from this allocation are former Vice Presidents Specioza Wandira and Prof Gilbert Bukenya, as well as former Prime Ministers Ruhakana Rugunda and Amama Mbabazi. Notably, Rugunda and Mbabazi are already employed in different capacities by the president, with personal salaries covering their expenses.

The proposed expenditure has drawn concern from Hoima City East Division MP Patrick Isingoma, who criticized the government for allocating public resources without considering the taxpayers’ concerns. Isingoma questioned the fairness of providing cars to former leaders already holding high-level public offices.

”Some of us are perturbed by the way this exercise takes place. We have some of these leaders who are at various levels, for example, the former Vice President Edward Ssekandi, the other day he was given a car as former Speaker, is he also among the people going to benefit from the cars in Parliament Service and if it is so, is it fair? Because really, we should be seen as fair in what we are doing as a government. Some of these people already have high-level jobs that the President gave them, and they have cars” Isingoma wondered.

Stephen Mugole, MP for Kabweri County, called for a review of conflicting laws to prevent double entitlements for former leaders. He emphasized the need for clarity on whether individuals receiving benefits in one capacity should also be eligible in another.

”If there is need for the review of the law, then I think even the Ministry of Public Service could suggest what should be done because there is a lacuna somewhere and the public isn’t aware of what is happening that if you are getting benefits as a former Deputy Speaker, are you also getting as a former Speaker, so those things need clarity” Mugole emphasized.

However, the Committee Chairperson, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi acknowledged the legal obligation but called for a clear breakdown of leaders in critical need of vehicles.

He suggested a prioritized approach to allocate resources more efficiently, considering conflicting laws like the President’s, Prime Minister Emoluments and Benefits Act 2010 and the Parliament Administration Act, which contribute to the issue of double entitlements for former leaders.

Is it possible for you to provide us with a clear breakdown, for example, if you have a former Prime Minister but currently you are working as a Special Presidential Adviser, and that officer is still fully funded, or if you were Speaker of Parliament and you became Vice President and Parliament has already provided, but it wouldn’t be fair if you leave others not attended to, it wouldn’t be fair? So if you can work that out and put those who we can start with so we can push that from Shs7.2Bn, maybe we need Shs3.5Bn, we can start with that. But of course, there is a law that we shouldn’t compromise, but how do we start with the most leading and move that way, Mapenduzi said.

Bitarakwate, in response, told the Committee that the double entitlements to former leaders are brought by conflicting laws like the President’s, Prime Minister  Emoluments and Benefits Act 2010 and the Parliament Administration Act. an accessible web community

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