trueBy Moses Simon Kaheru
I have been provoked to write this because of what I heard and saw on television recently when Member of Parliament Eddie Kwizera attempted to justify the need to increase the pay of our Members of Parliament.
First, he wanted the public to understand that an MP’s salary is actually only sh2.6m monthly and is subject to income tax.
He enumerated the monthly pay which totals about sh20m as mere out-of-pocket expenses, against which there was so much pressure from the MP’s constituents to contribute to their constituents’ expenses for school fees, burials, weddings, graduation ceremonies and more for which the above “out-of-pocket expenses” were not adequate.
Hence the “need” to increase the MP’s monthly pay.
My anguish at what the Kwizera was explaining actually turned to anger when it dawned on me that even these honourable members did not fully comprehend their role in society.
Clearly, there are two parties that need urgent education: The MP on the one part, and the constituent on the other.
The MPs should understand and be in position to explain to all and sundry their role as prescribed by the Constitution.
Basically this is to “make laws”, “protect the Constitution, and promote the democratic governance of Uganda.”
The constituent should be sensitised and made to understand that the MP is not responsible for the provision of school fees, burial expenses, marriage expenses, loans, etc.
At best, the MP as a leader may and indeed should encourage, promote, educate and sensitise the constituents on income generation projects but must as well discourage the expectation that they are responsible for the unnecessary expenses on marriage, graduation, funeral rites and so on and so forth.
To do these things the MP does not need so much money as enumerated above, let alone an increment in pay!!
I will leave the specific requirements of an MP for another day.
Revise the role of Parliament