Speaker Anita Among has presented cars as a token of appreciation for the service rendered to former Speakers of Parliament. The recipients of these tokens include Al Haji Moses Kigongo, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, Rebecca Kadaga, and Professor Edward Rugumayo.
While delivering the vehicles, Speaker Anita Among announced that Parliament would provide new cars to former Speakers every five years. The expenses for fuel, maintenance, and driver salaries would be covered by Ugandan taxpayers.
She highlighted that the recent enactment of the Parliamentary Pensions Act expanded the beneficiaries to include all Speakers who served Uganda since 1979. This entitlement extends to individuals such as President Museveni, Chairman of NRC 1986-1996, Edward Rugumayo, Speaker and Chairman NCC from 1979-1980, Francis Butagira 1980-1985, Al Haji Moses Kigongo, Vice Chairman NRC 1986-1996, Edward Ssekandi, Deputy Speaker from 1998-2001 and Speaker of the 7th and 8th Parliament, and Rebecca Kadaga, who served as Speaker from 2011 to 2021.
Professor Edward Rugumayo, the first Speaker of Parliament from 1979-1980, served during the ousting of Iddi Amin Dada when the title “Speaker” was referred to as Chairman National Consultative Council – NCC. Al Haji Moses Kigongo served in the sixth parliament from 1986-1996, followed by Edward Ssekandi from 2001 to 2011, and Rebecca Kadaga from 2011 to 2021.
Public reactions in Uganda suggest that the gesture is currently viewed as overrated, especially in light of more pressing needs within the health sector and other critical areas. This comes at a time when the government has indicated a shortfall in funds, leading to an application for a supplementary budget.
Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi expressed concern about the government’s priorities, emphasizing the pressing issues facing Ugandans, while Joanita Pearson questioned the allocation of funds for luxury items given the reported budget shortfall.
Another respondent, identified as Carter, proposed alternative uses for the allocated funds, such as establishing a library with free internet, renovating Health Center III or IV in respective home areas, questioning the necessity of brand new SUVs for individuals like Hajj Kigongo and Professor Rugamayo.