Museveni’s security budget hits Shs 116bn
• Unfulfilled pledges to take 134.5bn
• MPs demand answers on source of funding for Museveni donations
• Minister tells MPs to go and hang
To secure the president, Ugandan taxpayers will bear a burden of Shs 116.5bn next financial year.
According to Ministerial policy statement of the presidency which is before Parliament, President Yoweri Museveni’s security expenditure is anticipated to consume more than Shs 116.5bn of the national budget in the coming financial year 2018/19.
A ministerial policy statement is a government document that outlines a given sector’s expenditure priorities for a given financial year.
The figure reflected in State House’s budget requests for 2018/19 will also cater for the security of Museveni’s close family and the Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi.
This represents a Shs 8.7bn increase in the expenditure on Museveni’s security budget as compared to the outgoing financial year’s allocation.
State House’s comptroller Lucy Nakyobe told members of Parliament’s committee on Presidential Affairs that in total, the presidential home needs Shs 274bn.
“There was a 10% (8.742bn) budget cut on consumptive items like travel inland, allowances, special meals in the FY2017/18,” Nakyobe said.
Nakyobe told the MPs that the presidency had requested another Shs 134.5bn to go towards payment of Museveni’s unfulfilled pledges and donations that he has made over time.
Asked the worth of the presidential pledges, Nakyobe could not give the exact figure, telling the MPs that her docket only keeps track of pledges that don’t fall under any ministry.
For the pledges that fall under a government ministry, Nakyobe said, State House follows up the pledges with the line ministries.
“If the president has pledged an ambulance then it is usually followed up by Ministry of Health and if it is about a school then it’s the duty of the Ministry of Education. But if the pledge is a donation to a church, or helping an individual then it is directly handled by State House,” Nakyobe said.
State House is also seeking Shs 41.12bn as capital development where Shs 10.874bn is required to refurbish State House Complex, which has not been worked on 10years since the completion of phrase 1.
The MPs also engaged Nakyobe on last weekend’s donations that the president made in Rukungiri district.
Amuria Woman MP Suzan Amero ignited the fire, asking Nakyobe to explain the source of Museveni’s Shs 5bn that he donated to 110 groups in Rukungiri on Sunday, April 15.
“We have seen on social media that Museveni donated over 1000 boda bodas, 100 lorries and huge sums of money. We would like to know where State House got this money from and a why tune of Shs 20bn was donated to one area which is headed towards a by-election?” Amero asked.
Amero was joined by other committee members in asking Nkayobe to clarify on the source of the money that Museveni uses for such cash windfalls.
Nakyobe pointed to Museveni’s donations budget but also blamed the media for blowing the figures out of proportion.
“We toured Rukungiri on Sunday and even invited the media, they [journalists] counted the items and even interviewed us plus the beneficiaries, so it is unfair to say that this donation was worth Shs 20bn,” Nakyobe said.
Nakyobe downplayed criticism of the timing of Museveni’s donations ahead of next month’s by-election for the district Woman MP seat.
“Before returning on Sunday, we had gone to Rukungiri earlier on where we visited Nyakagyeme Sub County even before the annulment of elections. In fact the President did not even know that court would annul the election of the Woman MP. He told the people in Nyakagyeme that he would return bigger to fulfil his pledges for other sub counties. So we returned to Kampala, made procurements and then took them on Sunday,” Nakyobe said.
The state minister for Economic Monitoring Kasirivu Atwoki supplemented Nakyobe’s defence of Museveni’s donations saying that instead of criticising the donations, those opposed to Museveni’s gesture should go and hang.
“He [Museveni] gets this money from the presidential donation budget and it’s in good faith. President will continue making donations whether there is by-election or not,” Kasirivu said.
However, committee chairperson Jessica Ababiku (Adjumani Woman) disagreed with Kasirivu arguing that much as Museveni has a donations budget, the donations have to be done with fairness aimed at uniting Ugandans instead of dividing them.