By Moses Walubiri
SPEAKER, Rebecca Kadaga, has taken exception to the negative media blitz legislators in the ninth parliament have endured lately over their levels of indebtedness, saying their plight is not unique to them.
Kadaga, although acknowledging the dangers indebted MPs pose to the image and functioning of parliament, contends the issue has been blown out of proportion on account of legislators’ status in society.
“MPs don’t come from Mars. Even in the media, there are people who are broke but no one is writing about them,” Kadaga said on Wednesday during Urban TV’s morning program, Urban Today.
Kadaga’s comments come in the wake of her revelation last Friday that the Parliamentary Commission had communicated to all banks its decision to stop underwriting legislators’ loans.
The Kamuli woman MP noted that the issue of MPs’ indebtedness was graver than had been reported in the media, with some MPs wary of strolling out of the precincts of parliament because of prowling court bailiffs.
As a reminder of the problem of legislators sinking in debt, Gomba woman MP, Nakato Kyabangi, on Tuesday survived serving a stint in prison over sh79m debt after depositing sh20m.
Kadaga chats with Vision Group CEO Robert Kabushenga, while deputy paliament PRO Ismail Rani (second left), Urban TVs’ Angelo Izama and Samson Kasumba look on. Photo by Kennedy Oryema
Kyabangi deposited the money in the Kampala High Court, giving her a temporary reprieve from Kenroy Investments (U) Ltd – a money lending firm.
Kadaga also stridently defended MPs from accusations of greed, citing the example of judges and other senior civil servants that are facilitated to do their work.
“Parliament’s budget is less than 2% of the national budget. But when an MP is given some money to buy an old car to facilitate his movement, people make a big deal about it. It’s not fair,” Kadaga said.
Kadaga was responding to questions whether the imagery of two piglets caked in yellow colour that were recently smuggled into the precincts of parliament painted a true picture of greedy legislators.
The ninth parliament has of late lost its lustre after a blitz of negative media reports ranging from accountability, lack of quorum to indebtedness of legislators.