Ugan­dan law­mak­ers to get ar­moured cars for se­cu­rity

Oman Daily Observer - - WORLD -

KAMPALA: Pres­i­dent Yow­eri Mu­sev­eni has ap­proved in­creased se­cu­rity spend­ing for Uganda’s 456 mem­bers of par­lia­ment — in­clud­ing on sharp­shoot­ers and ar­moured es­cort ve­hi­cles — af­ter a rul­ing party law­maker was shot dead.

Crit­ics said the spend­ing was waste­ful and failed to ad­dress se­cu­rity con­cerns of nor­mal cit­i­zens who fear ram­pant crime in a coun­try marked by un­solved mur­ders, waves of kid­nap­pings for ran­som, bur­glar­ies and rob­beries.

In a let­ter to the fi­nance min­is­ter seen by Reuters on Thurs­day, Mu­sev­eni said the de­ci­sion to boost se­cu­rity was taken af­ter a meet­ing with mem­bers of par­lia­ment in which in­ci­dents of “crim­i­nal­ity and ter­ror­ism” were dis­cussed.

“Mem­bers of par­lia­ment... have been sin­gled out for in­tim­i­da­tion and pos­si­bly at­tack. I have, there­fore, de­cided to pro­tect the mem­bers of par­lia­ment... since they are be­ing sin­gled out,” he said.

The killing of a rul­ing party law­maker and his body­guard on June 8 fol­lows lethal at­tacks on Mus­lim lead­ers, a pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor and a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer. There have been no ar­rests in any of the cases.

Mu­sev­eni said law­mak­ers would now be ac­com­pa­nied by mil­i­tary sharp-shoot­ers and or­dered the fi­nance min­istry to pur­chase ar­moured pick-up trucks to use as es­cort ve­hi­cles.

Rights groups and the op­po­si­tion ac­cuse the govern­ment of waste­ful spend­ing and fail­ing to reign in cor­rup­tion. In the 2018/19 (July-june) fi­nan­cial year, the govern­ment in­tro­duced new taxes and hiked ex­ist­ing ones, in­clud­ing a new levy on ac­cess­ing so­cial me­dia sites.

“Or­di­nary Ugan­dans are be­ing taxed heav­ily to meet waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture of politi­cians,” said Cissy Kagaba, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Anti Cor­rup­tion Coali­tion Uganda (ACCU).

“Se­cu­rity should be guar­an­teed for ev­ery Ugan­dan not for a few se­lected peo­ple... it’s pa­thetic and an­noy­ing,” she said.

Par­lia­ment spokesman Chris Obore de­nied the spend­ing was waste­ful, de­scrib­ing it as a “short term mea­sure” to meet cred­i­ble threats.

In power since 1986, Mu­sev­eni, 73, is ex­pected to stand for re-elec­tion in 2021 af­ter par­lia­ment, con­trolled by his rul­ing party, scrapped an age cap in Uganda’s con­sti­tu­tion last year.

The amend­ment, which sparked protests coun­try­wide and a fist fight in par­lia­ment, re­moved a bar on any­one older than 75 run­ning for pres­i­dent.

Crit­ics said the spend­ing was waste­ful and failed to ad­dress se­cu­rity con­cerns of nor­mal cit­i­zens who fear ram­pant crime

— Reuters

Ugan­dan mu­si­cian turned politi­cian, Robert Kyag­u­lanyi, leads ac­tivists dur­ing a demon­stra­tion against new taxes in­clud­ing a levy on ac­cess to so­cial me­dia plat­forms in Kampala.

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