SSEMUJJU NGANDA Breaks Silence on Parliament Money 'Bonanza'

 


BY SSEMUJJU IBRAHIM NGANDA

Let me confess right from the onset that I don’t own a social media account. Many have been created in my name, I have been told. And this doesn’t mean that I underrate the importance of social media. Not jumping on bandwagon even when it is fashionable is my other weakness.

I only accepted to join WhatsApp groups because notices calling parliamentary and other meetings are being posted there these days.

The reason I am not enthusiastic about social media is because arguments here are usually settled by numbers and not reason. And I am not saying I am right but that is my view. Having studied some journalism, I am also uncomfortable with unverified information usually trafficked on social media.

Friends drew my attention to a list of payments that had been wired on my account that was making rounds on social media over the weekend.

These payments were being exhibited on X (formerly Twitter) as part of Parliament Exhibition. The exhibitors did not reach out to me for a comment like it is required in journalism.

On the list are all clans of payments. For example, I am paid money to attend two meetings in Dubai and Algeria taking place same day and same time on May 3, 2023.

The truth of the matter is that I was in Dubai on January 19 to January 29, 2023, and in Algiers on February 1 to February 8, 2023, to attend meetings of Organisation of Islamic Conference and African championship. Parliament didn’t have money to pay me on these dates.

I was paid for the two trips on May 3, 2023, when money became available.

Mr Museveni wanted to use this same information on my alleged excessive travel to have me arrested when I revealed how much money we were spending on him and his wife per day, including on buying him clothes.

I think he crosschecked and found no fault with it. He then passed on the same document to Mr Nandala Mafabi during our FDC fallout over Museveni money. It is now the same document being trafficked by Agatha [Agather Atuhaire].

This document is printed from Ministry of Finance and that is why it is showing dates of payment and not dates when the activity took place.

In fact it is possible to pay you on the same day for 10 activities untaken on different days. That is why domestic arrears are now at Shs10 trillion.

Some social media people have also raised issues with my going to Mecca using taxpayers’ money. At Parliament we have a Muslim Parliamentary Caucus which is a lobby group.

Under Rebecca Kadaga we lobbied and she gave us a small prayer room (mosque). She also accepted to sponsor annual Ramadhan iftar at which we host Muslim leaders at Parliament.

Our Christian friends are sponsored to go to Rome to meet the Pope every year. Sponsoring only Christians to visit the headquarters of their faith is discriminatory. We formally complained and that is how the trip to Mecca came to be.

If people have issues with Mecca, I think us Muslims can abandon it and let the Christians continue to visit Rome.

On the list there is payment made to me as sitting allowance, field trips and honoraria as FDC whip. It is true these payments have been made. Every party whip is paid and every MP is paid a sitting allowance. May be it is a bribe because the beneficiary is a vocal MP.

And if you are paid for an activity and you don’t undertake it, money is deducted. That is why on the list there is also money deducted from me unfortunately it is being reflected as money earned.

Impression is created that all this money is paid to me by the Speaker as part of patronage. That is why I am in particularly not speaking against her. The good thing she has also paid herself. I think she wants to patronise herself as well.

The exhibition may have started as a legitimate concern against lavish spending by Parliament but along the way, the Museveni machinery hijacked it.

Every information exhibited true or false has been shared widely by regime propagandists especially Ofwono Opondo. He has pinned some of the information even on toilets.

The motive is to silence the few rowdy voices in Parliament. There are not many good things to speak about Museveni. His machinery has invested heavily in smearing his opponents to make them look like him.

That is the main reason that [Uganda] Media Centre Ofwono Opondo heads was created. It is a propaganda centre and young people are recreated there for that. May be people have forgotten that Ofwono Opondo was in China for six months on taxpayer’s expense to perfect this game.

Girls and boys at Media Centre open multiple social media accounts in different names and they are the ones bombarding you with all sorts of falsehoods.

Ask yourself, Parliament has a Shs40 billion budget for travel abroad every year. How comes only my travels are leaked and I am not the most travelling MP. Does Miss Atuhaire have all trips every MP has made and she chooses to exhibit only Ssemujju? Or she is exhibiting what the Museveni machinery is feeding her with.

I have not seen the travels of the deputy speaker who I know travels more than his boss. The exhibition has made legitimate payments look like bribes.

It has also diverted us from the main target of our struggle.

Things are as they are because of Museveni. The new Leader of the Opposition Joel Ssenyonyi had started very well by visiting Lubowa where Shs550 billion has been lost to a shady deal. He is now busy in meetings with his Shadow Cabinet over Anita Among’s donation budget and how she withdraws it.

Joel’s Ssenyonyi’s political path is now being illuminated by regime propagandists. They are forcefully walking him away from scenes of murder to where dogs are fighting.

You abandon Lubowa where Shs550 billion has been stolen and you go to Masaka to lynch Mathias Mpuuga over a Shs500 million service award.

The exhibition has caused more trouble in National Unity Platform than NRM. The Principal there is strangling his deputy because of a protest on social media. I hope he knows very well who is protesting there.

Finally when this lynching of prominent opposition leaders is over, the regime will unveil a new messier Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba. He will stop corruption, stop abuse of office and order drones to stop disappearing youths. There will then be freedom all over Uganda.

Ofwono Opondo oyee, oyee.

 

Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda is the MP for Kira Municipality representing FDC

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