By Moses Walubiri & Henry Sekanjako
STATE Minister for public service, Sezi Mbagutta and Bufumbira East MP, Eddie Kwizera were on Wednesday involved in a feisty exchange on the floor of parliament over what the latter described as ministers, who are also MPs getting double payments in terms of benefits.
The bone of contention was whether cabinet ministers who are also legislators should get mileage from both government and the parliamentary commission.
“Under public service standing orders, one is only entitled to mileage if he/she is using his personal car. But when a minister gets mileage when he/she is also using a government car, that is double payment. That is corruption,” Kwizera said to chorus of 'shame, shame', from legislators across the political divide.
However, a feisty Mbaguta was not about to let the issue pass without challenge, promptly challenging Kwizera to name and shame the culprits.
To the House’s consternation, Kwizera mentioned Mbaguta as the prime culprit, sending legislators into bouts of laughter.
“Mbaguta earns mileage from parliament yet she has a car fuelled by Government. That is corruption. Anyone doing this is perpetuating corruption,” Kwizera noted.
Mbaguta, however, shot down Kwizera’s accusations, noting that she is bona fide MP with constituency demands like all legislators.
At the beginning of the ninth parliament, the Parliamentary Commission gave each MP sh103m to buy a car. This means that ministers who have constituencies get mileage from both central government and parliamentary commission.
Kwizera opines that cabinet ministers should only get mileage from central government since they are entitled to official cars.
Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, opines that there is nothing wrong with ministers with constituencies getting mileage from the Parliamentary Commission because it’s a right.
Last month, MPs on the Public Service and Local Government told former Vice President, Prof. Gilbert Bukenya (also Busiro North MP) to choose between benefits accruing to him as erstwhile Vice President or those of a legislator, but not both.
Mbaguta, Kwizera in standoff over ministers’ benefits