Maracha – As the media is awash with reports of MPs manipulating the controversial Ugx. 20M, giving it to district COVID-19 taskforce, as their own contribution, one legislator blasts the move labelling it ‘blackmail’.
Maracha East Constituency Member of Parliament, Hon. Acidri James blatantly says the acts contravenes roles and responsibilities of a legislator.
During radio programme on Arua One FM station, the flamboyant legislator blasts that it him but bullion vans that carry money.
He resists, saying he is neither the accountant nor a bullion van to take the Ugx. 20M to Maracha district COVID-19 taskforce.
“I am equally not a bullion van to carry money to the district.. The district should access resources through the appropriate channels” Hon. Acidri lashes at the modality of MPs donating the money to their districts.
The legislator who turned critic his mother party, the ruling NRM during the age like era, terms the presidential directive that MPs hand the Ugx. 20M to the DTF, a blackmail.
“It’s typical blackmail for the president to ask me surrender this money to Maracha DTF” Hon. Acidri criticizes.
He notes that the speaker of Parliament had allocated the Ugx. 20M to legislators for fueling Ambulances and paying drivers in their respective constituencies. But Hon. Acidri wonders what MPs like him, who have not purchased Ambulances would do with the dim. He also rules out the ideology of MPs buying Ambulances than lobbying for the government to improve services.
“The UGX 20M was not meant for me!! I don’t own any ambulance. So i don’t deserve the money, since it was provided for MPs with ambulances, to buy fuel and pay allowances for their drivers. Secondly its not my responsibility to buy an ambulance as an MP. I can only lobby for increased health budget to allow purchase of ambulances” he comments.
For Hon. Acidri, returning the Ugx. 20M to Parliamentary commission that distributed it is the best option.
“As an individual who believes in policy and functional institutions, i will return this money to the source” the untempted legislator states.
Biting the finger that fed him to become a legislator, Acidri tell his constituents to cultivate their own food instead of expecting any relief from the national taskforce, which believes is under NRM.
“On food for vulnerable populations, the president said we have no problem with food in Arua and WestNile in general. Let’s pray it rains and we grow our own food!! We have never survived on food handouts from the NRM govt. That’s the summary, its time for good governance” asserts.
In a social media post by handlers of the lawmaker, Hon. Acidri likens MPs taking the Ugx. 20M to a shameful punishment to a thief to return a bounty.
“To appreciate the embarrassment of MPs that had taken the 20m, one has to contextualise the symbolism behind asking them to take it to the district COVID-19 task forces or account for it. Quite often in our society, when a thief is caught with their ‘exhibit’, they are asked to carry it on their head either to police or to the owner as everyone jeers them. This humiliation is a public stripping act, and punishment in itself,” Hon. Acidri argues in the post dropped by one of his handlers.
The outspoken law maker adds that it’s not just about taking money to the district but the implication associated with it.
However, Hon Acidri has not specified on when he would refund the money.
Meanwhile, Koboko municipality Member of Parliament, also state minister for Privatisation and investment, Hon. Anite Evelyn is another legislator hailing from West Nile, who considers refunding the money as best option.
Red Pepper has reliable information with evidence that the principled minister and law maker has already taken ths Ugx. 20M back to the Parliamentary commission’s account.
Adjumani Woman member of Parliament, Hon. Jessica Ababiku like her counterpart of Maracha district, Hon. Ayaka Rose Atima, reportedly has handed over the Ugx. 20M to the district COVID-19 taskforce.
She could not pick repeated calls to her by Red Pepper to verify the information.
Yumbe Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Andama Richard reports that Aringa North MP Hon. Onzima Godfrey has handed over his share of the Ugx. 20M to the district task force.
The RDC who chairs the taskforce acknowledges directing the Chief Administrative Officer, (CAO), to receive the money and give a receipt.
The CAO is to take the money back to general fund for further guidance .
In a related incidence, Jonam Constituency Member of Parliament, Hon. Fred Jacan Omach Mandir has contributed food items, facemasks and sanitizer, worth Ugx. 4 M while offering free weekly airtime on Pakwach FM for health awareness creation and religious programs.
In a delivery letter, the MP notes the items would help in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
“As one of the leaders of Jonam who is aware of the great work the Pakwach COVID-19 taskforce is doing in the district and also aware of the tough time being faced in putting resources together to deliver appropriate services during the current situation that has virtually brought all sectors in the World at a halt, my team, I e, Team Fred Jacan Omach Mandir 2021 and I have decided to support you with the following” the letter reads in part.
The District Health Officer, Dr. Ajal Paul signed the letter on behalf of Pakwach district taskforce.
The letter did not have any mention of the talked Ugx. 20M given by Parliamentary commission the legislators.