Uganda’s Gen. Museveni–Has almost larger Parliament than United States. Photo: YouTube screenshot
[My Free Thoughts]
The Ugandan dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni has been creating parliamentary districts as a way of spreading out the pork and creating more lawmakers beholden to him.
Uganda has a population of 45 million people, gdp of $34 billion, land area of 93,065 square miles, and 426 legislators in parliament. Most of them are nothing but the dictator’s rubber stamp for overstaying in power and wasting taxpayers’ money. They are penchants for luxury and fat salaries all at the expense of the taxpayers.
Uganda has almost as many lawmakers as the United States, which has a population of about 330 million, a gdp of $22 trillion, land area of 3.8 million square miles, and 435 members of the House of Representatives, the lower house—just nine more than Museveni’s Uganda; or 109 more, once you add the 100 U.S. senators.
About 25% of the Ugandan lawmakers are elderly and already superannuated. Yet they cling on, enjoying this source of income. The country’s ruler, Gen. Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni has been in power since 1986 following a five-year bush struggle. He has used, twice, his majority members of his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party in parliament to amend the constitution to his favor and to the detriment of million of Ugandans who once believed the fiction he sold that the bad old days were over.
In 2005, he used the majority members of his party in parliament to scrap presidential term limits as the 1995 constitution pronounced. At that time he offered 5 million shillings (a mere roughly $3,000 at the time) to each parliamentarian belonging to the NRM as a bribe for them to carry out his dubious deal.
Again in 2017, Gen. Museveni used the same parliament that has a majority of NRM members to scrape the 75-years age limit from the constitution even though he had assured a journalist that he wouldn’t run for president past that age.
The despot knew that by next year’s election in 2021, he would be older than 75 and would not be eligible to contest. This time to get his way he offered 20 million shillings, about $5,400 to his parliamentarians, plus other other gifts, and a proposal to extend their terms from five years to seven years. He had deceived them on the term extension since the courts struck down the seven years proposal but still upheld what he wanted, the removal of the age limit.
At the same time the country’s debt burden is overbearing. The borrowing also doesn’t reconcile with service delivery and utilization. Some loans are diverted into unproductive activity, while some embezzled. No one is held accountable even when those responsible are known. Before the close of the last financial year in June, Uganda’s public debt had hit 53.697 trillion shillings, about $17.33 billion. The largest percentage of the budget is allocated to debt repayment.
With the creation of new constituencies by Gen. Museveni’s cabinet and approved by parliament, the number of parliamentarians is going to increase again, and possibly exceed the United States’. This will present more burden to the already impoverished taxpayers—Uganda’s average income per head is about $776 according to the world bank—since legislators enjoy fat salaries, allowances, insurance, free expensive vehicles and fuel plus other unnecessary benefits. The U.S. by comparison has average income per head of $53,500.
From the look of things, the increased creation of constituencies is not aimed at service delivery but political gerrymandering to increase more “yes men” for dictator Museveni in parliament.
Columnist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija can be reached via