KAMPALA- Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) on Monday asked all Members of Parliament to reject escort vehicles and snipers, a project that was recently proposed by President Yoweri Museveni.
During the party weekly press conference at the headquarters in Najjanankumbi, party president, Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat said Mr Museveni, instead of coming up with dubious ideas, he should be bothered by the personal security of MPs is threatened.
“They [MPs] are targeted by their own communities. Then, they need to ask themselves, ‘why?’ What is the cause of alarm after the assignation of one of the MPs? There are more people who need this security than they do,” Mr Amuriat said.
Last month, Arua MP, Col Ibrahim Abiriga and his brother, Saidi Kongo, were assassinated by men moving on a motorcycle at Kawanda in Wakiso District.
On Thursday last week, President Museveni directed the Finance Ministry to “immediately” buy escort vehicles for all the 456 MPs and the army would provide them with “sharp shooters” to protect them from what he called “terrorists.”
This directive, however, has since been challenged by a section of the public and political leaders saying; it is a wastage of public money.
Mr Amuriat said the over Shs800 billion which is likely to be spent to buy the escort cars could be used on other sensitive issues like the health sector.
“[President] Museveni and his people have ignored the important issues in the country and gone for none-issues. This money can be used to provide medicine in hospitals where our mothers are dying while giving birth,” Mr Amuriat said.
Alluding to the infamous women killings in Wakiso Districts and parts of Entebbe, Mr Amuriat said just like MPs, women, children and other Ugandans deserve to be protected.
“We have seen all those kidnaps, murders and killings of women in Wakiso District. How much more security do you think they need? Uganda needs security beyond just protecting the 456 MPs,” he said.
Some opposition MPs told Daily Monitor that they share the same sentiments adding that they have rejected the cars and snipers.
Agago North County MP, Prof Morris Ogenga-Latigo said the proposal for MPs to have security does not make “sense to any person in the world” who knows what is happening in the country.
“We can go around the world and you will be shocked that there is no MP who is guarded by snipers on escort cars. Mr Museveni [President] is using this move to deploy army around the country to intimidate all citizens and have his plans go through. We should stop the militarisation of the country’s politics,” Mr Ogenga said.
Mr Paul Mwiru, FDC part spokesperson and Jinja East Municipality MP, said he joins the call from his party president to reject escort cars and ‘sharpshooters.’
“What wrong have I done to my people that I need to be protected? I join the call made and I reject escort cars and snipers,” Mr Mwiru said.
Amuru Woman MP, Ms Lucy Akello said she doesn’t see the need for the cars since she is as vulnerable as other citizens.
“In my honest opinion, I think this is just madness. MPs are not more important than the people who elected them. This is going to send a bad signal to potential investors who will think that the country is insecure! In fact, I think it will attract more enemies,” Ms Akello said.