Ugandans express disappointment as MPs get 25 million euros to acquire automobiles.
Uganda distributed 25 million euros to legislators last week to purchase new vehicles, prompting anger in an impoverished nation devastated by the coronavirus epidemic.
Each of the 529 MPs received 200 million shillings (48,000 euros, $56,500) to purchase new cars during a period of increased Covid-19 instances.
President Yoweri Museveni imposed travel restrictions and closed schools, churches, and bars for at least six weeks on June 18.
“It is intolerable for a government to purchase luxuries for a small group of parliamentarians who continue to receive monthly salaries of more than 30 million shillings (approximately $8,000) while the majority of the population goes hungry,” said Anet Nana Namata, an active human rights defender and executive director of the Union of Human Rights Defenders Uganda.
A manual labourer makes about Shs100,000 (24 euros) per month, whereas a teacher earns slightly more than Shs260, 000. (64 euros).
“This conduct is heinous at a time when the government is asking to private people to donate money to purchase the Covid-19 vaccination,” Moses Isooba, chairman of the National NGO Forum, said.
Confronted with growing public outrage, government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo justified the decision, claiming that it was in keeping with time-honored custom.
“It is to assist their interaction with the voters; in any event, civil society organisations were involved in the budgeting procedures and were aware for a long period of time that MPs would get funds to purchase vehicles,” he said.
A similar action in 2018 prompted demonstrations, with demonstrators storming the parliament before being dispersed.
Uganda, a 45 million-strong nation, has reported 91,710 Covid cases and 2,496 fatalities.
So far, about one million individuals have been immunised.