Shs 1.5bn Spent at NRM Fete
By Jafar Mugera
At least Shs 1.5bn was spent at a party, NRM national leaders hosted in Kiboga on Sunday for the 317 MPs that voted for the removal of presidential age limits.
Knowledgeable sources have told IntelPost that President Museveni released Shs 1.2bn in cash in addition to 25 heads of cattle for the party supporters to feast. Locals had their share of the meat on Saturday evening while the MPs, ministers and other VIP guests were served the food on arrival.
NRM contracted events manager Balaam Barugahare to organise the fete.
Besides providing a public address system, lights and a media stage, Balaam also hired celebrated musicians to entertain the guests.His list of artistes had Messach Ssemakula, Ronald Mayinja, Catherine Kusasira, Maureen Nantume, Gravity Omutujju, Fred Ssebatta and Spice Diana among others.
IntelPost could not readily establish how much was spent on the musicians and ushers. The party also spent on ferrying supporters from across Kiboga district to Kiboga Town Council grounds where the event was hosted.
Much as it was hosted a day after a group of ‘rebel’ NRM MPs had accused the NRM leaders of blowing over Shs 73bn on the entire process of amending the constitution, none of the NRM honchos at the Kiboga fete responded to the allegations. Instead, they mocked the group’s leader, Lwemiyagga MP Theodore Ssekikubo that despite his calls to the party supporters to boycott the celebration, people turned up in large numbers.
Asked why NRM had chosen to throw a lavish party for its MPs at a time when hundreds of its employees are being laid off because the party can no longer sustain them financially, Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba claimed that the money had been raised by the MPs.
“This is an NRM parliamentary caucus jubilation, it has nothing to do with the NRM secretariat. What I know is that the MPs sat, generated a budget and mobilised funds for this fete,” Lumumba said.
She however failed to explain why the government had to facilitate the MPs if indeed they are the ones who funded the budget.
An MP who was central in the preparations told this website that the entire budget was funded by President Museveni.
Two weeks back, each of the 317 MPs received Shs 500,000 to facilitate their travel to Kiboga even though the party hired two buses from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to transport the MPs.
Commenting, Ssekikubo criticised President Museveni for “commercialising” the constitution.
“You can’t call that group (317 MPs) patriots; patriots are never bought, he knows the protracted negotiations that went on to convince them to vote for that amendment,” said Ssekikubo.