Parliament Agrees to Start Paying Cultural Leaders Shs.60M Monthly Salary

In accordance with President Yoweri Museveni's directive, members of parliament have endorsed a monthly salary of Shs 60 million for traditional and cultural leaders. During the budget preparation for the 2024–25 fiscal year, parliament approved the recommendation from the committee on gender, labor, and social development, allocating Shs 31.330 billion for the monthly salaries of each of the 17 recognized traditional leaders.

Previously, the government had been providing a monthly stipend of Shs 5 million to each traditional leader through the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development. Additionally, President Museveni had been contributing means of transport on various occasions. The kingdoms of Buganda, Bunyoro, Tooro, and Busoga, which were reinstated following their abolishment during the Obote I regime, are among those benefiting from this initiative.

Furthermore, parliament also endorsed the allocation of Shs 17.2 billion for the construction of palaces for traditional leaders of Teso, Tieng Adhola, Buruli, and Rwenzururu kingdoms, as per the presidential directive. This decision follows the destruction of the Rwenzururu kingdom's Buhikira palace in Kasese town during a military raid in November 2016, which resulted in the loss of over 100 lives.

According to Flavia Kabahenda, chairperson of parliament's committee on gender, labor, and social development, the total annual budget requirement for traditional leaders' emoluments is Shs 32.170 billion, leaving a significant shortfall of Shs 31.330 billion as only Shs 840 million has been provided.

John Baptist Nambeshe, the chief opposition whip, expressed concern over the exclusion of the Bugisu cultural institution from the palace construction plan, despite President Museveni's pledges and the availability of funds. In response, Betty Amongi, the minister of gender, labor, and social development, cited the need for land titles and resolution of leadership conflicts before proceeding with palace construction projects.

John Bosco Okiror, Usuk County MP, supported the construction of palaces for traditional leaders but suggested placing funds for the Iteso palace under the ministry of Teso Affairs for effective monitoring. Deputy Speaker Tayebwa requested Okiror to present his proposals before the budget committee for further deliberation.

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