Members of Parliament disregarded President Yoweri Museveni’s warning against increasing their salaries, a decision that has seen bloodshed for people to go to Parliament.
The revelation was made by President Museveni while meeting the aggrieved parliamentary aspirants in Mbarara and Sembabule districts, where he met NRM parliamentary aspirants and other officials from the Isingiro, Kirihura and Kazo.
“It is important for those seeking leadership positions in the NRM to appreciate our ideology. People are fighting hard to go to Parliament because MPs unilaterally increased their salaries. They earn more than our scientists and other critical professionals. I tried to discourage them but they insisted,” Museveni said.
He added, “This should not be the motivation to seek parliamentary seats, it should be about serving their people.”
The 10th Parliament that boasts of 457 MPs sees each MP take home a basic salary of Shs11.18m after taxes and the MPs take home a stream of allowances, making a total pay package of about Shs25 million.
The package of allowances includes; Shs4.5m that is paid as town running allowance (Shs1M), gratuity (Shs1M) and medical allowance (Shs 500,000).
For each Committee sitting, the MP is paid (Shs 50,000) while plenary sitting allowance accounts for Shs150,000, as well as travels abroad $520 per day (Shs1.75 million) while inland travel, sees each MP get Shs150,000 per night/day.
The MPs also got Shs120M as car allowance and Ipad which cost Shs2M each. Each Legislator is paid Shs4.5 million as constituency facilitation (Shs3.2 million), lunch and tea Shs3 million.
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In September 2013 the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), a body that brings together all Parliaments in the world, made an assessment into payment of MPs, a study that exposed enormous gap in the salaries earned by MPs.
Regionally, Kenyan MPs walk away with the highest package, with their Ugandan counterparts coming in second with Tanzanian MP earning USD7,266 and Rwanda USD1,271, while Africa’s top economy Nigeria pays its MPs USD15,800 and is followed on closely by South Africa USD16,243.
Museveni’s meeting comes after the NRM Secretariat was forced to postpone part primaries for parliamentary aspirants in some parts of Sembabule after chaos broke out in two constituencies including Mawogola West where Joseph Ssekabiito Kitayimbwa were tussling it out with Hanifa Bangirana Kawooya (Sembabule district Woman MP) for the newly created constituency.
In the same lot, Theodore Ssekikubo was up in arms against Minister Joy Kabatsi for Lwemiyaga County seat while in Mawogola North, Shartsi Musherure Kutesa daughter in law to President Museveni is competing with Godfrey Aine Kaguta also known as Sodo who is the younger brother to President Museveni.
President said that politics is working for the people, to help them get out of poverty and solve their problems and it should not be about you the contestant escaping from poverty yourself.
He also threatened the warring parties that the full arm of the law will deal with individuals behind the chaos, “For those who were violent in the party primaries, including those who masterminded it, we shall arrest and prosecute them. I have spoken to families of those whose loved ones were killed in these incidents, we shall see how to support them.”