KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: Former Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has criticized the proposal by the deputy speaker Anita Among to hand over a Bank of Uganda owned house to the family of Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, who, was earning a salary in excess of Shs 60 million per month.
In a tweet on Friday, Kadaga described the move as that would taint the legacy of the former Bank of Uganda boss who earned a hefty Shs.54 million plus other monthly huge benefits.
“The manner in which the issue of the house for Prof Mutebile was brought to the floor vulgarised the legacy of a great Ugandan . I believe the Bank of Uganda has a clear policy on terminal benefits,” Kadaga wrote.
Kadaga’s criticism followed a wide public outcry among which the ruling Party’s spokesperson, Emmanuel Dombo called the idea “a crap”.
“I know if he was alive, being a Mukiga Kashushu he wouldn’t entertain that crap,” Emmanuel Dombo said.
Mutebile, 72, passed away on Sunday at Nairobi hospital in Kenya where he’d been admitted since December 31, 2021, due to diabetes complications.
On Thursday, Bukooli Central MP, Solomon Silwany tabled the proposal on the floor of parliament as MPs debated a motion by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, to pay tribute to the longest-serving BoU governor.
In his proposal, Silwany, who doubles as a parliamentary commissioner, suggested an amendment to Nabbanja’s motion, saying that government or BoU gets an appropriate property for the family of the late Mutebile. The late governor has been occupying his official residence in Kololo while his upcountry home is in Kabale.
“This property or home should be for the family led by the widow. It is known knowledge that the late professor was a very honest man and by the fact that he was governor Bank of Uganda for a very long time, as we talk today, the family may not have where to go,” said Silwany.
He explained that Mutebile did not amass a lot of wealth like other people who would take advantage of their positions. When the deputy speaker Among asked whether the amendment by Silwany was seconded, a section of legislators from mainly the opposition responded in the negative.
This prompted her to inform the House that she attended a vigil at the official residence of the late governor on Wednesday in Kololo where the widow hinted on having no home.
“Members, I happened to go for a vigil yesterday, I’m not debating but I’m giving you information. I happened to go for a vigil yesterday [Wednesday] at the professor’s home which is a Bank of Uganda house, and what the widow talked and whatever you’re doing here, people are looking at you, how insensitive you can mean to be. What the widow talked, all of us know Mutebile was corrupt-free and the widow said when the contract for the professor was ending, she asked the husband; where are we going? and he said God will provide. And now you’re [MPs] becoming the Gods to provide,” said Anita.
Barnabas Tinkasimire, the Buyaga West MP then took to the floor and expressed support for Silwany’s proposal. He justified his decision, saying that he had visited the late governor in June last year, and he learnt that the Kololo home is only the official residence provided by the Central Bank.
Prime Minister Nabbanja said that she had taken note of the concerns by the MPs and requested parliament to allow her to consult and report back on their next course of action. Francis Zaake, the Mityana Municipality MP rose on a procedural matter, saying that the motion by Silwany had not been supported by himself or the whole House. Among then said that the motion can be put to vote if that is what Zaake and the parliamentary commissioner want.
Medard Lubega Sseggona, the Busiro East MP proposed another amendment, saying that the government follows up as per the undertaking of the Prime Minister promise and report to back parliament in subsequent sittings on the steps taken.
In her motion, Nabbanja described Mutebile as a distinguished career and a diligent leader who immeasurably served Uganda with dedication and patriotism. She also commended Mutebile for having participated in shaping the destiny of Uganda through the modernization of Uganda’s financial sector, designing and implementing economic and fiscal reform programs that have restored Uganda’s economy.
Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition, said that the passing of Mutebile marks an end of an era of someone in that generation who participated in nation and institution-building from the time when over 85 per cent of Ugandans currently in the country were not yet born.
“That distinction falls on a select few who get that rare once-only opportunity to help set up institutions during and after the birth of a nation. Dr Mutebile was a fortunate man. He was the right man with the right credentials who rose on account of his competence that helped cushion our economy from a state of near-collapse in the early 1990s to one where our people can only try to survive on basics of life,” said Mpuuga.
He however said that the decorated economist has passed on and left behind leaders who are selling the parish development model as a miracle economic transformational tool that will uplift the poor citizens from poverty to prosperity.
“He has left us in a country where the promised economic miracle to transform Uganda would be powered by poor supply, unaffordable electricity as well as unaffordable credit from banks and other financial institutions, honourable speaker. He leaves Uganda as the sixth-worst performer in terms of revenue collection when measured by revenue as a percentage of GDP. This is well documented honourable speaker. This gallant son of Uganda, an authority in economic management is leaving Uganda choking on public debt with interest payment on public debt for the financial year 2022/23 programmed at about Shs 5.88 trillion of which Shs 4.09 is interest payment,” said Mpuuga.
Mpuuga appealed to parliament to ensure that senior citizens who have served Uganda with distinguished honor retire honorably and enjoy many more years in retirement.
“This House owes our senior citizens a law that bars men and women who have reached retirement age from continued stress of public service,” Mpuuga said.
He added that the practice of seeking specialized medical care in neighbouring countries is very unfair to millions of Uganda citizens who entrusted leaders with the privilege of leadership to fix the broken health system. A national funeral service for the late governor is scheduled for Friday at Kololo Independence Grounds followed by a Shs 409 million budgeted burial on Sunday 30th at Rugarama, Kabale.
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