Monday, 26 September 2016

The Transition of Ugandan MPs From Honorable Members of Parliament (MPs) to Diabolical Members of the Pig Family(Mpigs) : MP burial to 67.7 million shillings

It is sad that since this 10th parliament (I mean pig sty) started, they have not substantially discussed anything that benefits the common Ugandan. They have spent a lot time discussing money for buying their new cars, increasing the retirement age of judges, traveling abroad and budgeting for burial expenses of a single MP at 67.7 million Uganda Shillings. What nonsense!!!! 

Surely, the neo-liberal economic ideology of Museveni’s National Resistance Movement organization (NRMO)  has really entered every crack and crevice of the Ugandan society including the Uganda parliament(pig sty).  According to this ideology , GREED IS GOOD, GREED IS RIGHT AND GREED WORKS. 

 The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga  like many other MPs  has  argued that what they did  is right because it has always been the practice. This is an error in reasoning because this practice is not divine ordained  such that it is difficult to change. The mere  fact that these MPs have consented to continue with an unjust and extravagant practice is evidence that they not patriotic and pro-poor.  Chris Obore a once social justice critic  but now Director of  Communication Parliament and social injustice supporter has erroneously supported  the 67.7 MP burial budget  by arguing that MPs deserve a  descent burial. Can you imagine!! I think Chris Obore has taken the  Andrew Mwenda route. He should not waste too much of our time.

A poor country like Uganda cannot afford to be that extravagant . The health sector has totally collapsed  , health centers lack even basic drugs, professors in Makerere and Kyambogo universities are sitting in 12th century offices , doctors are leaving the country because they are tired of earning pea nuts, a number of Ugandans are ferrying food from Kampala to their starving relatives in the villages of Masaka , Iganga, Gulu, Soroti among other places , a number of pensioners have not been paid , a number of civil servants are demanding arrears from government . The list goes on and on… Shame upon you MPs for Turning into diabolical members of the pigs family.  God will judge you…unless you repent. God will stand up in support of the poor in this country. God is a God of justice. The money you are getting is cursed…..and everything you lay your hands on is cursed because you are robbing the poor.  REPENT!!!!
Woe to you Born again MPs for consenting with devilish acts against the poor in this country. REPENT!!!!!

 The Satirical letter that I wrote to the Daily Monitor recently 

Why UNEB should not ask the abbreviation M.P in this year’s P.L.E 

Dear Editor, Ugandans might never recover from shock after reading the story in your paper titled; ‘’MPs burial to cost shs 68 million each on 15th September-2016.  It is sad that ‘’our’’ legislators have lost even a modicum of shame. 

Why should we the tax payers spend 67.7 million shillings on a dead MP when many of our health centers lack even basic drugs like Paracetamol? Hasn’t Uganda fully graduated into a typical Animal farm where pigs are more important than doves and sheep? Our MPs are no longer Honorable Members Parliament. 

They should be called Diabolical Members of the Pig Family. No wonder, some bold Ugandans had brought a number of their siblings , cousins friends and in-laws  to join them on the bench with effect from 15th September, 2016, only to be frustrated by the marauding police men. I kindly request UNEB not to bring the abbreviation M.P in this year’s primary leaving examinations because the answer that most of the pupils are likely to write is – MEMBER OF THE PIG FAMILY. If you insist on bringing the abbreviation then all children who write the answer as Member of Parliament should be crossed. Period!!  

Kizito Michael George, 
Govt plans for seven MP deaths this year
Written by Siraje Lubwama

 Created: 21 September 2016 

Parliament plans to spend at least Shs 400m to cover for the projected deaths of seven MPs before the end of this year, writes SIRAJE LUBWAMA.

The controversy over the Shs 68m to be spent on burial for each MP has persisted days after the budget was first reported in the local media. In an interview with The Observer on September 17, David Bahati, the minister of state for finance and economic planning, said government will spend exactly Shs 67.7m on each MP’s burial.
“The impression the press creates is that each living MP is budgeted at Shs 68m each year, which is not true,” Bahati said.

“I see nothing wrong for government to budget for their fallen MPs since this is one uncalled-for event that comes once in one’s life. This money is meant to facilitate the burial expenditures for two days. These include a casket and expense for Uganda Funeral Service, the official government service provider, tents for a maximum of 1,500 people and other items,” the minister added.

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanya lays a wreath on the casket of a fallen MP 
At least 10 MPs and ex officios died in the ninth parliament including Cerinah Nebanda, Gregory Matovu, Eriya Kategaya, Susan Namaganda, Michael Oromait, Gen Aronda Nyakairima, Dr Stephen Mallinga, Stanley Omwonya, Joy Kariisa and James Mutende, among others.

According to an assessment by Daily Monitor, the coffin would cost Shs 6 million ($1,800), transportation (Shs 1.45 million or $430), professional services (Shs 400,000 or $120), pall bearers (Shs 150,000 or $44 per day), lowering machine (Shs150, 000 or $44) and a tent for the coffin (Shs 250,000 or $74).

Construction of the VIP grave costs Shs 1,500,000 ($441), the “VIP grave” itself (Shs 4 million or $1,200), 15 VIP wreaths (Shs 1.5 million or $441) and carnations (on stands), at a VIP price of Shs 4.3 million ($1,265), among others.

Two weeks ago, Parliament reportedly invited bids for more burial service providers. Speaking on CBS FM on September 19, Kato Lubwama, the Lubaga South MP, said Ugandans shouldn’t worry about the amount of money to be spent on a dead MP because it is the living that will get most of it.
“A dead MP cannot know how decent he is buried, the body goes with half of this allocated money in terms of a coffin, grave-digging expenses, and money paid to the funeral service providers. The rest of the money goes to the porridge and eatables at the late MP’s home,” he said.

Bahati also told The Observer that in budgeting for death, government wants to avoid the poor planning, which led to a failure to absorb Shs 330bn in donor funds meant for construction of schools. Donors have since threatened to recall the money.

“It is true the challenges of unutilised loans acquired from different lenders have been a challenge to government and we are now handling it head-on to avoid government losing a lot of money. We are dealing with this reality by ironing out the laziness the president talked about recently,” said Bahati. 

MPs burial to cost Shs68 million each
A lot of the costs fall on the shoulders of the bereaved, relatives and friends. For those in gainful employment, the employers will usually subsidise the funeral expenses
Thursday September 15 2016
By Isaac Imaka  
PARLIAMENT. Death always comes at a cost not just in terms of the emotions it evokes but in actual money spent. While the end is the same, the cost of the funeral will always vary depending on one’s status in society. The higher the status, the more the money that will be spent on the funeral.
A lot of the costs fall on the shoulders of the bereaved, relatives and friends. For those in gainful employment, the employers will usually subsidise the funeral expenses
It is in that light that Parliament plans to spend Shs67.7m on burial expenses for each MP who dies.
Last week, Parliament invited bids to identify service providers who are interested in offering funeral services to the national assembly. 

The budget
Perusal of the Parliament budget shows that Parliament has budgeted for an estimated five deaths this year, making a total of Shs338,680,000 planned expenses on burial of MPs.
Parliament’s public relations manager Helen Kaweesa said yesterday that the national assembly footing burial costs of MPs is not new, but it is only that this time round, it will be provided for in the official budget. She said Parliament has been meeting costs of its dead personnel.
“The Parliamentary Commission caters for funeral expenses of its staff and members of Parliament. We have to pre-qualify service providers because it is government money and we have been doing it all along,” she said. 

Every three years, as per procurement law, Parliament is supposed to pre-qualify service providers to create a pool from which the national assembly can pick companies to offer services. It’s the reason the advert inviting service providers was published.
Daily Monitor learnt that currently, Parliament has only one service provider, Uganda Funeral Services, and wants to add “at least two more in the pool.”

“Parliament does not pay for services pronto. Last year, we lost three MPs in one week and the single service provider we have was over-stretched. Businesses in Uganda don’t have a lot of money; so if you ask a service provider to cater for three funerals [in succession], yet you will pay them after three months, it becomes hard on them. We need to ease service delivery,” said a Parliament official who declined to be named because he is not the spokesperson.
Speaking to Daily Monitor yesterday, Ms Regina Mukiibi, the managing director of Uganda Funeral Services, declined to divulge details of the package they usually offer to Parliament for funeral expenses.
She, however, said costs for the funeral services “depend on what someone wants to be included.”

The breakdown
A breakdown of expenditure of the Shs67.7m for a dead MP includes buying a state-of-the-art casket rated as American Casket at Shs6m, Shs5.5m for the grave, Shs4.5m for Order of Service books, Shs15m on feeding mourners and Shs17.5m on allowances for police.
Ms Kaweesa said although staff of Parliament also benefit from the funeral services, it is not the same as for the MPs.

Ayivu county MP Bernard Atiku said Parliament is right to meet burial costs of MPs because every institution plans for any eventualities.
Gomba District Woman MP Sylvia Nayebare supports the proposal. She says Parliament should be able to bury its members if not for anything but a show of togetherness.
“It is right. Like any other institution, it shows harmony and togetherness. It is right only if it is not overshot. I don’t think we would lose over five or more from 427 MPs,” she said.
The public, however, is not agitated about the move.

“As MPs representing constituencies, they are employed by an institution. Like any employees, burial expense is a perk. However, this needs to be reasonable. With an overburdened taxpayer, such costs should be symbolic and in kind. The amounts being mooted are not only out of touch with reality but are obscene. This can create a negative backlash. Government and Parliament need not be out of sync with an overburdened populace,” public relations expert Jimmy Kiberu said. 

Public speaks out
Journalist and social media commentator Grace Natabalo says Parliament footing burial costs for MPs is “an unnecessary burden on the tax payers given the number of MPs in the House.”
“They can afford to cater for it (individually). MPs should be able to contribute to their own funerals through insurance and then Parliament can provide extra support such as transporting the body. The MPs seem to be enjoying too many perks and there has to be a limit. We cannot cater to their every need,” she said.

What they say
Helen Kaweesa, Parliament public relations manager.
“The Parliamentary Commission caters for funeral expenses of its staff and members of Parliament. We have to pre-qualify service providers because it is government money and we have been doing it all along.”