On 4th August 2015, parliament approved the creation of 43 counties that will automatically qualify to be constituencies to be occupied by Members of Parliament in the 10th parliament.
The counties take effect as I write, for the motion proposed they take off 1st July/2015. This will lead to an increase of the legislature’s budget for the next financial years, meaning the taxpayer’s pockets will grow bigger holes.
At the beginning of the 9th parliament, the parliamentary commission adopted a policy of providing an ipad and a vehicle to each and every MP. That cost about Ugx 976 million and Ugx 39.76 bn respectively. (As per the dollar rate in 2013)
Does this policy also apply to the new MPs, so what happens to the old iPads that were already purchased? Is there a guarantee that MPs who will fail to come back will return these Ipads? All these are questions that Parliament has been met by deafening silence from Parliament.
With the new 43 MPs, the Parliamentary commission is to milk the taxpayers additional funding of:
- For Vehicles to each of the 43 new MPs costs 143 million = 6.1 billion for all 43 MPs
- IPads for each of 43 new MPs costs Ugx 1.7 million = Ugx 75 million for all new MPs
Roughly a member of parliament as stated by MP Mafabi gets a salary of Ugx 8Million, for all the new 43 new MPs that are 344 million per month (Without allowances).
This means tax payers will be spending Ugx 6.149 Billion in the first month when the 43 new MPs take office. You can calculate what the 5-year term for the new MPs’ will cost.
Notwithstanding, there is a proposal to construct new chambers whose cost is in billions. Given the fact that the current number of 375 members cannot fit in the chambers, where will the 418 sit? (This is the number of constituency MPs without the ex-officials)
Such astronomical amounts of money in my opinion could have been injected into the productive sectors like agriculture that employs more than 65% of Uganda’s population and whose budget was cut for this financial year, the sector also has critical unfunded priorities.
Does creation of 43 new counties ‘bring services closer to the people’ as the minister for Local Government reasoned? Why not create municipalities or even districts that guarantee new hospitals, security?
Imagine if Government used the Ugx 6.419 Billion to purchase equipment for the cancer institution, or paid the ‘always-striking’ teachers. As if the ridiculous amount to be spent on the new MPs is not enough, Government will have pending legal suit from the unhappy and confused current Members.
For example, MP Ekanya Geoffrey represents Tororo County; the creation of the new counties divides his county into Tororo North and South. So what county will he represent, considering the new counties already took effect from 1st July 2015.
The creation of new counties also had many MPs at loggerheads with each other on who gets a new county and who doesn’t. The minister did not state clearly, what criteria government used to select new counties.
Once again is it worthy to create the 43 new counties?