The cost of the Parliament of Uganda is high as the country struggles to overcome COVID19:

Uganda Parliament is Africa's third largest assembly and very much under the control of the executive:

This is an African Parliament that has 529 members and is still growing.
 

The number of MPs will have grown from 457 members in the tenth parliament to 527, making Uganda’s August house the sixth largest legislature in Africa. The other countries with bigger legislatures than Uganda are Morocco, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Algeria, and Egypt. 

With the exception of Egypt with a parliament of 596 members, the other countries in the bracket have a bicameral system; a lower house of representatives and the upper house, or senate. But if their senates are excluded, they are smaller than Uganda’s. Uganda’s legislature is also bigger than those of economic powerhouses; Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. 

Ugandans are also the most highly represented society, with each MP representing an average 86,800 people, compared 176,000 in Ethiopia, 154,000 in the DR Congo, 120,000 in South Africa, 168,000 in Egypt, as well as Nigeria, where each MP represents an average 492,000. 

A Ugandan MP earns an average 25 million Shillings per month including a basic salary of 6 million Shillings and amenities in allowances, depending on the distance between their constituency and the parliamentary buildings in Kampala. Ugandan MPs have the privilege of revising their pay either up or downwards. Article 85 of the Constitution states that MPs are entitled to determine their emoluments, a privilege no other public officials enjoy. 

 

The overcrowded sitting Parliament that is costing the  taxpayer lots of money

 

If this remains unchanged, Ugandans will spend not less than 13 billion Shillings a month or 158 billion Shillings annually, almost 36 billion Shillings more than last year’s salary and fixed allowance expenditure. In 2018, Ugandan MPs were also the highest-paid legislators in Africa, according to Mark Babatunde, an author at Face2FaceAfrica. 

Every member of parliament is entitled to a new car. In the current parliament, Members were given 150 million Shillings for the purchase of vehicles at the beginning of their 5-year term.  This Year, the Ministry of Finance says that it requires 165 billion Shillings for the same. 

On top of the mileage allowances that range between 10 and 30 million Shillings per MP per month, the legislators are also entitled to night travel of 150,000 Shillings per night when traveling within the country, and 1.9 million Shillings per night for foreign travel. The legislators are also entitled to an iPad to help them conduct research and follow proceedings during debate.

The MPs pay package also largely goes untaxed and for tax purposes, they usually present only the 6 million Shillings, which is the basic salary after tax, while between 15 and 25 million is not taxed. 

On a number of occasions, the legislators have defended the pay they allocate themselves as being reasonable, and they compare it with what happens in the rest of the region.

They also cite the high costs of maintaining a constituency, that included attending to personal problems of their constituents like burials and school fees for children, even though that is not in their mandate. 

Last financial year, some MPs called for the introduction of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which, before it was abolished in 2011, was managed by the MP of the respective constituency. Each MP would be given some 10 million Shillings. The fund was scrapped after it faced accountability issues.

But last year, Usuk County MP Peter Ogwang said there is a plan to table a Bill in the 11th parliament. MPs including Jacob Oboth and Paul Mwiru support the re-introduction of the CDF, saying that if it has worked in countries like Kenya, it can also work in Uganda. They say it is needed to cater for the increasing pressures that the MPs are facing in their constituencies. 

The Executive Director of the Budget Advocacy Group, Julius Mukunda expresses worry at the rate at which the public administration expenditure is increasing. He says that unfortunately as the parliament expands, the government is borrowing money to cater for the increasing budget.

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This is a Uganda Parliament that is presently going to spend 105.8 billion shillings of tax payers' money to buy for 529 members of its house luxury cars every five years.

The wage bill for this house is astronomical. That is why most citizens in this country believe that for the economy to pick up fast, there is enough tax revenue to provide for the most vulnerable (15 million adults) of this country for every month(Shillings 360000/- taxable) for a year until most of them can find work again after the end of two long consecutive COVID19 lockdowns.

 

 

 

 

In Uganda, 16 Ugandan doctors have unfortunately succumbed to Covid-19 in only the last 2 weeks of a second lockdown:

Unfortunately for the medical staff, the conditions they operate in are not good enough. 

 

 

Written by URN

 

Ugandan doctors on duty. Courtesy photo

 

At least 16 doctors have succumbed to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the last two weeks according to the Uganda Medical Association (UMA). 

While appearing on Capital FM radio political talk show today, UMA secretary-general Dr Mukuzi Muhereza says if you add in the other medical workers including nurses, then the number of medics that Uganda has lost to the Covid-19 pandemic is even higher. 

Overall, the country has lost more than 50 health workers to Covid-19 in both the first and second waves. This is a big blow to the country's health sector which was already grappling with a shortage of health workers. 

The second Covid wave has continued to ravage the country unabated - with the ministry of Health yesterday revising upwards recorded Covid-19 deaths by 746 raising the country cumulative deaths to 1,873. Mukuzi said the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths hasn't changed in the last two weeks. 

Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng said the over 700 deaths had not been previously captured, but clinical PCR tests confirmed that they probably died of Covid-19. It is unclear under which period these deaths occurred. A further 687 recoveries (total 54,845) 37 Covid-19 deaths (total 1,910), 770 new cases (total 82,852) were recorded from samples tested on July 1. 

Meanwhile, in Kagadi district, 36 health workers from Kagadi General hospital, Kabugo, and Muhorro health center IIIs have tested positive for Covid-19 and are currently receiving home-based care because they are not critically ill. 

Many health facilities in the district are operating with inadequate or total lack of PPEs, putting the lives of the medics in danger. Kefa Madira, the Kagadi district head of Covid-19 case management says that the workers contracted the deadly virus since the second wave of the pandemic was reported in the country in May this year.

Madira attributed the increase of the cases among health workers to a lack of PPEs. He adds that several health facilities have run out of gloves, sanitizers, face shields, gowns, and aprons among others.

"The personal protective equipment, we do not have enough gloves to use, we have like 5 to approach these patients. Don't you think we're risking our lives? That is why when we talk of risk allowance, it must be considered. Another thing, this response is voluntary most people you see have accepted to work, nobody has been forced. In this team people have accepted to respond therefore as they respond to save others, we should also give them something little like lunch. We work the whole day up to 5 you're still here," said Madira.   

The health workers are currently being managed from their respective homes under the Covid-19 home-based care because they are not critically ill. Yosia B Ndibwami the Kagadi LC V chairperson says that it is worrying that more health workers could get infected with the disease. 

He has tasked the Health ministry to immediately intervene and allocate enough PPEs to Kagadi district to save the lives of health workers. While interfacing with MPs this week, the National Medical Stores (NMS) said they have PPEs in their stores but they have no transport means to take them to health facilities across the country.

Last month, health workers at Masindi General hospital laid down their tools due to lack of PPE, leaving several Covid-19 patients stranded.

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Interesting country indeed. There are several messages going the round that the paper money currency is also infected with COVID19 Delta that is able to be transmitted through the atmosphere quite easily.

The problem is that everybody including the medical staff need this stuff badly every other minute of the day and night in order to survive.

One has heard that many rich people in this country keep their paper money well stocked in their nice bedrooms. Well how can one hope that after this military lockdown of 42 days in the country of Uganda this troublesome virus will quit and go away?

One hopes that bad financial habit of transferring loads of billions of paper money by the Bank of Uganda to the various personal homes of VIP will have to stop.
Unless the police start to allow to provide fumigation permits to many of the companies that are now sitting inactive because of the tough rules of lockdown all over the country.

Unfortunately for the rich, not many of them are prepared as yet to show to the public how much money these Christian misers might have, stacked away in their personal homes and not in their bank accounts!

Actually many countries have been very active to fumigate many of the public entities especially the hospitals and to encourage the private sectors to do the same.

For example the International City of Kampala and its great KCCA, one should be able by now to see fumigation trucks and many workers doing their cleaning work in the streets, back alleys, and the front portions of the thousands of shops!

Paying for more security and guns so that people can go home and sleep 24 hours, 7 days for a month or two, will not deter the spread of COVID19 Delta.

Twebaka kutulo does not work anymore in these years where the people of Uganda have learnt to survive and improvise to make a very difficult living!
 
 
 
 

Boda boda rider bayonetted to death in Luwero at police checkpoint during the second lockdown in Uganda:

 

Written by URN

 

Police officers in Uganda, matching with their rifles with bayonets

 

A boda boda rider who allegedly refused to stop at a checkpoint in Luwero district has been bayonetted to death by police.

Kassim Luyinda, who was riding his motorcycle reg. number UFH 186G was bayonetted at a checkpoint in Kiziri village, Kalagala sub-county at the Wakiso-Luwero district border.

According to Nakigoza parish councillor, Paul Ssinabulya Najja, Luyinda, was travelling back from Wakiso district after transporting cargo for a client before he was stopped. He however attempted to proceed to Luwero at around 10 am before he got bayonetted.

Ssinabulya says Luyinda was rushed to Bugema health centre with severe wounds but was pronounced dead on arrival. Isah Ssemwogerere, the Savannah Regional police spokesperson said he did not have details about the said incident but made reference to another incident in which a rider fell on a tyre spikes mounted in the road after he refused to stop and opted to ride alongside a pickup that was passing by.

Ssemwogerere said the body of the deceased is currently at Bugema health centre as investigations into the incident take shape. The police insist that the body will be transferred to Luwero hospital for postmortem before it is given back to the family.

Two weeks ago, a boda boda rider identified John Kugonza, a resident of Nyasonzi village in Mugusu town council in Kabarole district was shot dead by a UPDF soldier at Kibede trading centre, a few meters away from where security had put a checkpoint to enforce the travel ban between Kabarole and Bunyangabu districts.

President Museveni banned the inter-district movement in a bid to control the spread of Covid-19 though motorcyclists are allowed to move if they are transporting cargo. Police in Luwero has so far impounded 92 motorcycles for breach of the directives and at least 72 have been released after paying Shs 40,000 express penalty. 

 

 

 

 

In Uganda there is doubt about how the budget to combat COVID19 is being spent. A new variant has arrived in the country:

Where are govt vaccines, and where is the cash for Covid-19?

20 June, 2021

 

By Nobert Atukunda

Police chase a crowd off a street in Kampala City on June 19 following President Museveni’s ordering a 42-day countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19. Owners of shops and arcades downtown found open were ordered to close. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

 

With a negligible 964,000 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines already used up, there is intensifying pressure on the government to find more Covid-19 vaccines as the best line of defense against the Covid-19.

By press time, June 20 figures showed a cumulative tally of 71, 543 Covid-19 cases, with 660 deaths, 1,026 admissions and 49,532 recoveries. 

Although the country received 175,200 more doses last Wednesday, it was still a donation from France.  

The government had earlier planned to buy 18 million Covid-19 doses of AstraZeneca from Serum Institute in India (SII), but it all hit a snag following high Covid-19 burden and demand in India as swathes of its population suffered ravages of the virus.

The vaccines from India were budgeted to be bought at $4 (about Shs14,000) a dose, but this might not be the same for other supplies at the moment. 

However, Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, said government had not wired any money to India before it suspended its export of vaccines to contain the surge in the sub-continent.

So far, all the vaccines that have been used in the country have come from donations, with government receiving 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca from Indian government on March 7, and another 864,000 doses as a donation from Covax on March 5.

Dr Atwine said  the ministry first received Shs18 billion and a second instalment of Shs23 billion, totaling to Shs41 billion to buy Covid-19 vaccines. But all this has so far yielded nothing.

“We are now looking elsewhere… We are not in direct touch with manufacturers, we are using the African Union, Covax, and different other entities. We are not able to directly reach the manufacturers,” Dr Atwine said yesterday.

Asked how many orders for doses have been placed to different countries and with what manufactures, Dr Atwine said currently, they are not known because the government is still looking and engaging different entities and quantities of doses can be established after the orders have been confirmation.

Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director general of health services in the Health ministry said: “We don’t have any confirmation yet. We placed our request to the Covax facility. As soon as they get a firm offer, they will let us know how many doses have been offered.”

Even as there are several middle men willing to offer the vaccines, the Ministry of Health says they are expensive and cannot deal with them. The ministry says at least 4.8 million doses of vaccine are needed for top priority high-risk categories of people but the difficulty is with getting them due to current global shortage. 

 

Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng (left) and French Ambassador to Uganda Jules-Armand Aniambossou (right) receive COVAX Covid-19 vaccines at Entebbe airport on June 16. PHOTO/PAUL ADUDE.

 

Health officials have accused developed countries of holding back the vaccines even when they have excess supplies.
When the vaccination campaign started in March, not many people responded for fear of the unknown.

Following the new coronavirus strains that are affecting even the younger age groups and those who didn’t have underlying illnesses, many have rushed for the jab. 

A total of 869,915 people have been vaccinated, which accounts for 90.2 per cent of the 964,000 doses received. 
Of these, 57,797 have received a second jab.

Uganda needs at least 45 million doses of vaccines for a population of over 22 million eligible people- and extra doses to cater for refugees.

Last month, the government transferred $11m (about Shs38.6b) to United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) for procurement of vaccines through Covax under the cost-sharing arrangement. This means there is balance left of Shs41b.

President Museveni, on Friday, during a televised address on the Covid-19 situation in the country, said additional 688,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines are expected into the country in early August. But he was not clear whether this would be a donation or government-bought vaccines.

“I have directed that these doses be prioritised to give second dose to those who have already got their first dose,” President Museveni said.

Currently, government is working with the Chinese embassy to bring in 300,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine donation from China and discussing modalities of acquisition of more vaccines through direct purchase.

Dr Atwine said apart from the above, there are no other doses confirmed yet but hope to get some answers by the end of the month. 

“We are engaging the African Union and Africa Centres for Disease Control. They want to negotiate as one block for Africa,” she said.

By press time, Dr Atwine was unable to tell us the total budget of the vaccines as she didn’t have the figure off head. 
In the coming financial year, the government has earmarked Shs560 billion for procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.

Some of the known donations 

Donor    Contribution
US    PPEs ($1.87m)
IGAD    $100,000
World Bank     $300 million
Japan    $1,640,442
IMF    $491.5 million

 

 

 

 

 

In Uganda, Kampala, the Kira Road police boss Turyasingura has unfortunately succumbed to COVID-19:

 

Written by URN

RIP: Mathias Turyasingura

 

Kira Road Division district police commander (DPC) Mathias Turyasingura has succumbed to coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

Assistant inspector general of police (AIGP) Asan Kasingye said Turyasingura succumbed to COVID-19 on Tuesday at Mulago National Referral hospital.

“You were a good commander, patriotic, disciplined and always concerned with the welfare of your officers. DPC, you fought crime in Kira Road with zest and zeal. Rest in Peace comrade," said Kasingye in a tribute.

The next day, the deceased communicated to his colleagues that he was receiving treatment at one of the clinics in Mpererwe, a Kampala city suburb where he has been residing, but the situation deteriorated over the weekend. He was transferred to Mulago hospital on Sunday evening, where a COVID-19 test was taken and returned positive.

At the time of his death, according to Ssemitego, the deceased had already received the first COVID-19 vaccination jab as did most other officers.

 

The long line up  to vaccinations in Uganda as the second wave of COVID19 strikes the country

 

Semirego said they are waiting for official communication from Turyasingura's family and relatives, and the Uganda Police Force about the arrangements of his burial.

The deceased, who hails from Kabale district joined police in 2007 when Gen Kale Kayihura was the Inspector General of Police (IGP). He did an intermediate course at Kaweweta, completed senior command and staff course before he was posted as DPC Kira Road replacing Michael Kasigire who had by then transferred to Entebbe last year.

In March, police launched a COVID-19 vaccination exercise for its personnel at an event that was presided over by chief of joint security Maj Gen Jack Bakasumba at Naguru police headquarters.

Dr Moses Byaruhanga, the director of police health services, recently said that so far only 7,833 police officers in Kampala have turned up for the COVID-19 vaccination. Health officials have said Uganda is already into its second coronavirus wave with all the ICU units at Entebbe and Mulago hospitals already full. 

 

 

 

 

 

In Uganda, Kyambogo University has stopped physical classes over Covid-19 as the pendamic continue to spread again in the country:

 

Written by URN

 

Kyambogo University officials at the main gate earlier

 

Eight student leaders of Kyambogo University have been arrested for staging a protest against the institution’s decision to suspend physical learning and ordering for online learning following a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases. 

The arrested include guild president John Mbaziira and his vice Claire Namara. Others are; Eriasa Kato, Bright Kasozi, Calvin Waiswa, Geoffrey Ssali, Alphonso Nkurunziza, and Ivan Malingumu.     

During the protest, the students blocked all the roads leading to the university with bonfires and heaps of cabbage, saying they wanted the university management to stop the implementation of the e-learning system since most of them are not prepared for it.     

Kyambogo University recently registered eight Covid-19 positive cases. Six of the cases were detected from students while two are administrative staff. Reuben Twinomujuni, the university senior public relations officer, says that following the outbreak of Covid-19 at the university, management decided to cancel physical learning and resort to online teaching.

However, the decision was resisted by a section of students and the guild leadership who claim that many of their colleagues don’t have laptops and smartphones while others cannot afford internet data.

Edwin Tumusiime, the personal assistant to the guild president, says the student leadership has on several times written to management asking them to either reconsider the decision or engage students on how they could smoothly migrate to online lectures in vain.  

But, Twinomujuni says that even without the Covid-19 cases, the university had already designed a road map that was sent to all students before reopening indicating that at a given point, lectures would be held online in the blended system.    

He adds that before the program was rolled out, the university did a survey among the students to find their willingness or inability to participate in the proposed arrangement and most of the learners accepted that they have the required gadgets for online learning.   

"70 per cent of the learners said they had laptops and smartphones and they could access the tool. To ensure that learners are catered for, the university installed wireless internet hotspots all over the university campus and at different colleges for learners who cannot afford data,” Twinomujuni said adding that an option of using university computes in different ICT laboratories was granted to those who don’t own laptops or smartphones.    

Mark Kiguli, a student pursuing a bachelors of arts degree in education, says that the said wireless internet hotspots are not working and at times are completely off.  He says that learning cannot take place if they are not certain of attending classes.   

Kampala Metropolitan police deputy spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire says that the arrested students have been charged with inciting violence and are currently detained at Jinja Road police station pending investigations.

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The Ministry of Health better understand properly what these students are trying to say.
Of recent, Artel has revoked my company's data with the excuse that it was due to expire as a recent Islamic holiday approached.
Now that these students might try to save for ownership of a smartphone or a laptop for their international studies online, the position of acquiring unlimited data is non-existent.

As one can see all over the newspaper, these network companies are rolling in lots of money from their customers and what they are trying to show off is to sponsor dodgy social projects for the very poor.
Customers who need intellectual and business communication, this government is on record that such connection is non-essential.
Being online is Lugambo and therefore non-essential. The government has put up high prices for buying data.
What these students are saying is that for a second lockdown, they will not be educated. They are going to end up in the countryside with a hoe to dig for food with their families!
One wants to ask the Ministry of Health some common sense questions.

As the Uganda Police is busy arresting and piling up these students in very crowded police cells and prisons, well who is busy inciting the spread of this terrible virus right now in Ugandan cities?
The Uganda Army one hopes has larger cells and military prisons for distancing, where they can continue to kidnap, arrest and pile up young people being persecuted over political treason!