Former president of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Party Dr Kizza Besigye has laughed off a directive from President Yoweri Museveni to have all MPs have their guards following their cars in armoured pickup trucks.
According to Besigye, there is no money for such expenditure. He argues that the president is merely setting up the MPs for the public to shun them for wasting taxpayers’ money.
“He has no money to buy the armoured vehicles. He knows that so he is just posturing that he is with them in their being terrified. He now hopes to buy time until they are thrown out of parliament and a new team comes in,” Besigye has said.
Besigye’s remarks come after President Museveni directed the Finance Ministry to immediately buy escort vehicles for all the 456 MPs while the army will provide them with “sharp shooters” to protect them from what he called “terrorists.”
He ordered Finance minister Matia Kasaija to immediately set aside money to acquire a fleet of escort vehicles for MPs which will be boosted by marksmen from the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
It is estimated that, if successful, the government will spend between Shs866b and Shs287b to procure bullet-proof escort cars for the 456 MPs, according to estimates based on the cost of such vehicles.
However, he did not give specifics on the cost of the vehicles and other related expenditures.
The legislators started raising alarm bells over their security in December last year following the passing of the contentious Constitution Amendment Bill that amended Article 102(b) and removed age limit on the presidency to allow Mr Museveni contest for re-election as many times as he wishes.
Fears over MPs’ safety were heightened when Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga was gunned down in Kawanda suburb in Wakiso on June 8, 2018.
His murder followed a wave of high-profile assassinations and killings which sent the country into a state of trepidation, prompting Mr Museveni to unveil a 12-security master plan that he touted as the magic bullet to the spiral in crime.