By Hanning Mbabazi
Kampala: Lubaga South legislator Kato Lubwama has revealed that he would be a fool to say no to clean money that parliament keeps giving Members of Parliament, even when they have not requested for it.
This came after legislators increased their fuel allowances by allocating themselves an extra Shs102 billion. Kato said, it is only a few legislators who come up with such proposals and the entire House is to blame. However, he added that he would be a ‘fala’ (fool) to reject such ‘idle’ money as he has quite a lot to do with it. In recent years, joining parliament has become one of the most lucrative ‘business’ investments in the country, with legislators assured of earning not less than Shs39 million monthly and about Shs468 million annually for five years. On top of that, legislators are given Shs200 million each to purchase cars at the beginning of their term. Only a few businesses or corporate positions offer that much money in Uganda.
“Nze nga Kato Lubwama sisabangako ssente zino (As Kato Lubwama, I have never personally asked for this money). But as always, once some MPs come up asking for such, we all carry the blame since such money is paid to all MPs. As a person who was born & bred in Kampala, I would be a fala (fool) to reject money…Money has never killed anyone in my clan.” Lubwama wrote on social media. “Why I call it idle money is because I never request or ask for it but it somehow ends up on my account. If it was not idle, what would it be doing on my account?!” he added. Recently the parliamentary commission contracted MTN to provide internet services of 5GB monthly data bundles for each of 458 MPs. Parliament was to also pay Shs30,000 monthly per MP as over the top OTT tax also known as social media tax.
Last year, the MPs passed the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2018 that among others imposed Shs200/daily tax for users of social media. At the time, the MPs said the daily charge of Shs200 was so little and almost affordable to every Ugandan. Besides, they argued, government needed to generate revenue (estimated UgShs400bn) to help finance the budget. It therefore came as shock when the parliament decided to pay OTT for legislators using tax payers money yet they are some of the most highly paid Ugandans.