13 Jul 2018
President Yoweri Museveni has approved increased security spending for Uganda’s 456 members of parliament – including on sharpshooters and armoured escort vehicles – after a ruling party lawmaker was shot dead.
Critics said the spending was wasteful and failed to address security concerns of normal citizens who fear rampant crime in a country marked by unsolved murders, waves of kidnappings for ransom, burglaries and robberies.
In a letter to the finance minister seen by Reuters on Thursday, Museveni said the decision to boost security was taken after a meeting with members of parliament in which incidents of “criminality and terrorism” were discussed.
“Members of parliament … have been singled out for intimidation and possibly attack. I have, therefore, decided to protect the members of parliament … since they are being singled out,” he said.
The killing of a ruling party lawmaker and his bodyguard on June 8 follows lethal attacks on Muslim leaders, a public prosecutor and a senior police officer. There have been no arrests in any of the cases.
Museveni said lawmakers would now be accompanied by military sharp-shooters and ordered the finance ministry to purchase armoured pick-up trucks to use as escort vehicles.
Rights groups and the opposition accuse the government of wasteful spending and failing to reign in corruption.
In the 2018/19 (July-June) financial year, the government introduced new taxes and hiked existing ones, including a new levy on accessing social media sites.
“Ordinary Ugandans are being taxed heavily to meet wasteful expenditure of politicians,” said Cissy Kagaba, executive director of Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU).
“Security should be guaranteed for every Ugandan not for a few selected people … it’s pathetic and annoying,” she said.
– By Elias Biryabarema, Reuters, 12 July 2018
Link to Reuters.
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