By Atusasire Edmund
Merely one month to the swearing in of the Ugandan 10th Parliament, I personally begin to debate and cast a lot of doubt on the possible relevant performance of the coming august House.
The 9th Parliament of Uganda has been comprised of 388 members. Subsequently, as we drew towards the 2016 general elections, a number of new constituencies and municipalities were created and granted immediate operational status hence increase in parliamentary membership to over to 430 members come May 2016.
This makes the Ugandan Parliament become the biggest in the region hence the respective burden on the country's small economy coupled with high levels of corruption ( The latest corruption figure was of sh724b lost from only five ministries in wasteful expenditure over the last four years-report released by the Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda on Friday, 15th April 2016).
With a Mission of "achieving improved accountability, rule of law and national development within a multi-party democracy system in Uganda" and
with a Vision of "being a Vibrant, independent and people-centered Parliament", a lot needs to be addressed to embrace the above core reasons as to why the great mighty institution exists.
To begin with, it was heart breaking to patriotic Ugandans who feel sorry and share a sense of belonging with the majority of Ugandans who are living under desperate poor conditions in our rural communities to learn and hear about the intended "tax avoidance" by the law makers. It was on Thursday, April, 14, 2016, during the consideration and passing of the Income Tax Amendment Bill, 2016 that the MPs swiftly and explicitly took their allowances out of the tax bracket-New Vision, Monday, April, 2016 Pg.5.
This action is in breach of simple common sense, highly selfish, non-developmental, diversionary and ill intended in all material aspects in relation to seeing our country better for all Ugandans. And a humble request/appeal is to "the powers that be" not to ascent to this bill into Law as it greatly/grossly undermines the existence and wellbeing of an ordinary Ugandan who will finally bear the greater tax burden to cater for the ever increasing financial demands of our dear Members of Parliament. Failure to recover this tax amount means URA/government of Uganda looses over 34billion annually in avoided tax by the law makers!
As noted above, the parliamentary vision envisages a pro-centered parliament, among others. The action taken on Thursday is a pre-cursor of what is likely to be the general guidance to the subsequent debates on the floor of the house effective next month.
My call is to all peace loving Ugandans to put to task our Mps and any other duty bearers and hold them to account for their presence in parliament and other respective administrative functions.
We need to enhance good governance practices and social accountability at all levels so that citizens' ability to make their voices heard and hold the duty bearers accountable is realized with an ultimate desire of social, political and economic transformation, hence the Uganda we all desire and strive to live in!!
The writer is a development worker