Thirty seven members of Parliament with pending election petitions in the Court of Appeal have petitioned the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga demanding the released of their vehicle money which was withheld by the Parliamentary Commission until they are cleared by court.
On October 11, 2016, Parliament disbursed Shs43.2 billion to the law makers to buy vehicles.
However, the Parliamentary Commission resolved not to disburse money to all legislators with pending election petitions until they are cleared by court to avoid cases where Parliament is made to release more cash new legislators once those battling petitions lose them.
In their January 12, 2017 petition to the Speaker, the petitioners demand the release of their vehicle cash.
Each MP in the 10th Parliament is entitled to Shs150 million for the purchase of a vehicle to facilitate movement between Parliament and their constituencies.
Each MP, apart from those battling election petition cases received Shs100 million.
“We the under signed members of the 10th Parliament of Uganda, hereby log in a petition to your attention and the entire Parliamentary Commission over a matter of failure to transfer funds for purchase of vehicles as duly assigned,” the petition reads in part.
The petitioners argue: “It is also clear that half of the Members of Parliament who still have pending court appeals have been paid.”
They also question why ex-officios who are already provided for by their sector dockets and do not represent any constituency have been given money to buy vehicles.
“Rt Hon Speaker, it should be noted among members who lost their cases at [in the] High Court and now in Court of Appeal; some have been paid whereas others have not. The same applies to those who won cases at the High Court and were appealed against. Therefore, we are puzzled by the criterion of selection,” the petition adds.
Mr Peter Ogwang, the Usuk County MP who also doubles as Parliamentary Commissioner says Parliament used different approaches to arrive at which MP receives the vehicle cash first.
“We began with the new MPs following alphabetical order because some of the new MPs were facing transport challenges. The other MPs will also be catered for because the money is available,” Mr Ogwang said.
He also confirmed that some of the MPs facing election petitions have received the vehicles.
“We pray that you resist any attempts by any authority wishing to detract you from effecting these payments as this has direct bearing on the performance of the 10th Parliament and precedent for future challenges against any Member of Parliament,” the petitioners argue.
Mr Chris Obore, the Director of Communication and Public Relations in Parliament, said the Parliamentary Commission halted the payment following a public outcry.