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ANT calls for audit of parliament expenditure

Members of ANT addressing the mdia

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Alliance for National Transformation- ATN has called for a comprehensive and value-for-money audit of the expenditure of Parliament.

Members led by the spokesperson of the party Gerald Karuhanga and former Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza were on Wednesday addressing a press conference at the ANT headquarters in Bukoto.

Karuhanga said that there should be a full audit of both the parliament and the executive because what happens in parliament is a reflection of what happens in the executive.

For the past two weeks, the internet has been awash with an online protest led by Makerere Don, Dr Spire Ssentongo, Journalist Agather Atuhaire, and activist Edwin Toko using the hashtag #Uganda Parliament Exhibition to expose the abuse of office and gross management of public affairs in Parliament.

In the exhibition, several allegations have been made against the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, and Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, as well as Members of Parliament.

Among the allegations made include these top officials fraudulently lobbying for their relatives to secure jobs in Parliament, distributing large sums of per diem for fictitious trips, as well as engaging in corruption deals to unlawfully enrich themselves.

Other claims levelled against the speaker include documents leaked about Parliament staff, including drivers and political assistants, who receive unexplained money in their bank accounts on behalf of the Speaker, Anita Among.

Karuhanga also asked Members of Parliament not to regard Speaker Anita Among as the sole authority within the institution, but rather disagree with her whenever there is any development that they believe is fundamentally wrong because parliament is not a personal matter.

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Since becoming speaker in 2022, Among has been accused of treating parliamentary business as personal, and any Member of Parliament who disagrees or attempts to criticize her faces severe consequences, both inside and outside the chamber.

Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake was removed as a commissioner for tweeting against the Speaker, and the State Minister for Housing, Persis Namuganza, who was also impeached, primarily for actions that displeased the Speaker.

Karuhanga said that MPs should not be afraid to the point of allowing the speaker to do anything with impunity without being checked, because parliament is a public, not a private institution.

Winnie Kiiza said that the current constitution makes it impossible to deal with the misuse of power and money in parliament, hence there is a need for a constitutional review to check on the speaker’s authority.

Kiiza suggested that a speaker must be completely independent and if possible the public should participate in deciding who should be the speaker.

ANT also criticized President Yoweri Museveni’s recent decision to approve a proposal by the Chinese Tian Tang Group to redevelop Luzira Prison as a five-star hotel.

Kiiza stated that, unfortunately, every land giveaway in the country has been authorized by the President. Kiiza specifically criticized the President for not carrying out consultations over the matter, as he reportedly did with Shimon and UBC land.

She argued that the President should have consulted Parliament, and if the proposal is approved, the government would build a new prison and relocate Luzira, before advertising the land for a competitive bid to redevelop it.

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