How Parliament Paid Former Lead of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga Shs500m 'Service Award'


In a recent revelation that has shocked many Ugandans, it has come to light that Mathias Mpuuga, the outgoing Leader of Opposition in Parliament, received a staggering Shs 500 million as a 'service award' after just two years in office. This revelation has sparked outrage and criticism over the use of public funds within the parliamentary system.

The award, amounting to half a billion Ugandan Shillings, was approved during a meeting of the Parliamentary Commission held on May 6, 2022, in the Speaker's boardroom at the Parliament Building. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the 'service award review of elected benefits of the leader of opposition and backbench commissioners.'

Present at the meeting were notable figures including Speaker Anita Among, Mathias Mpuuga himself, and Parliament commissioners Solomon Silwany, Prossy Akampurira Mbabazi, and Esther Afoyochan. Notably absent were Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, and Finance Minister Matia Kasaija.

The decision reached during the meeting was to grant a one-time pay-off service award of Shs 500 million to the Leader of Opposition, along with an additional pay-off of Shs 400 million to the backbench Parliament commissioners. Importantly, one of the terms of this pay-off was that it would not change 'regardless of length of tenure of office.'

Activists Speak Out

The news of this substantial pay-off quickly spread, drawing sharp criticism from Ugandan activists. Agather Atuhaire, one of the coordinators of the #UgandaParliamentExhibition, condemned the decision, stating, "Mpuuga got 500m as outgoing LOP, the commissioners got 400m each as outgoing commissioners, never mind their terms were renewed."

She further clarified that Joel Ssenyonyi, the new Leader of Opposition, would not benefit from this amount as it was granted on a person-to-holder basis and is not transferable to another LOP. This means that Ssenyonyi will have to negotiate his own terms separately.

Public Outcry and Political Responses

The public reaction to this revelation has been one of shock and outrage. Many Ugandans have expressed dismay at what they see as a wastage of public funds within the halls of Parliament. On social media platforms, individuals like Walter Adyeeri and Aaron Nze have called for transparency and accountability from the parliamentary leadership.

Chris Obore, the Director of Communication and Public Affairs at Parliament, responded to the outcry in a statement. While acknowledging the concerns raised, he mentioned that the discussion was laden with distortions. However, he emphasized the House's commitment to openness, accountability, and transparency, promising to address the specifics of the concerns raised.

Meanwhile, Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, the president of the National Unity Platform (NUP), weighed in on the issue. He praised the #UgandaParliamentExhibition for uncovering these revelations, describing them as shocking but not surprising. He called on all citizens to demand accountability from those in charge of public affairs and to expose any wrongdoing.

The revelation of Mathias Mpuuga's hefty 'service award' has sparked a broader conversation about the use of public funds, transparency within the parliamentary system, and the responsibilities of elected officials. As Ugandans continue to grapple with these revelations, the call for accountability and reform grows louder. The nation waits to see how these issues will be addressed and what actions will be taken to ensure transparency and prudent use of public resources within the halls of power.

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