Each of the 529 lawmakers received $ 56,500 to get new vehicles, causing outrage in the poor country.
Uganda handed over nearly $ 30 million to MPs (MPs) this week to buy new cars, causing uproar in a poor country where the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc.
Each of the 529 lawmakers received 200 million shillings ($ 56,500) to get new vehicles at a time when COVID-19 cases are rising.
On June 18, President Yoweri Museveni announces pavements for movements and closes schools, churches and pubs for at least six weeks.
“It is unacceptable for a government to buy luxuries for a small group in parliament, which still receives more than 30 million shillings a month (about $ 8,000), while the larger population cannot feed themselves,” said Anet Nana Namata, an active human rights defender and executive director of the Union of Human Rights Defenders Uganda.
A manual worker earns an average monthly salary of about $ 28, while a teacher earns $ 75.
Moses Isooba, leader of the National NGO Forum, added: “This act is at one time shameful that the government is appealing to private citizens to contribute money to buy the COVID-19 vaccine.”
He said the money could rather be used to distribute “to the most vulnerable 500,000 people”.
Faced with increasing public anger, government spokesman Ofwono Opondo defended the decision as being in line with a traditional tradition.
‘It’s to facilitate their involvement with the electorate. In any case, the civic organizations were part of the budget processes and they had known for a long time that the MPs would get money to buy cars, ”he said.
In 2018, a similar action provoked protests with activists storming parliament before being dispersed.
Uganda, a country of 45 million people, recorded 91,710 COVID-19 cases and 2,496 deaths.
Only about one million people have been vaccinated so far.