President Museveni last evening tasked his vice, Ms Jessica Alupo, and the Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, to explain and come clear over allegations that they traveled with a delegation of more than 70 people to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that was held in New York this month.
Speaking to the media shortly after the closed-door National Resistance Movement (NRM) Parliamentary Caucus convened by Mr Museveni at State House Entebbe yesterday, the Government Chief Whip, Mr Hamson Obua, said: “The president requested the Vice President [and Prime Minister] to explain” about the number of people said to have travelled with them triggering an uproar among Ugandans.
“In terms of delegation, they were very emphatic. I think our Ugandan media captured even the list of our staff who are part of our missions out of the country. Some of the names of the ministers that were captured even never attended the [UNGA] meeting,” Mr Obua said.
He added: “The Vice President indicated [that] she went with a delegation of five [people]. The Prime Minister indicated [that] she went with a delegation of five [people]. And all the members in their respective delegations were approved because for the Vice President and Prime Minister to travel, that travel is approved by the President. So what we are seeing being reported by you members of the media is total misrepresentation of the facts.”
When asked about President Museveni’s specific response and resolution on the said trip, Mr Obua said “there was nothing conclusive because he simply wanted clarity. So the [trips of the] two were all in his knowledge. Absolutely!”
Additionally, President Museveni was particularly concerned about the persistent troubles that legislators have with money lenders.
The Mubende Municipality legislator, Mr Bashir Lubega Sempa, disclosed that the President warned MPs against dealing with money lenders.
“The President is concerned that many MPs are indebted. He said [we] cannot be good leaders if [we] are indebted. He said the biggest issue that underpins [this kind of position] that MPs find themselves in is when [we] decide to put the entire constituency on [our] shoulders [and borrow money],” Mr Sempa said.
High interest rates
Considering that the money lenders also charge exorbitant interest rates on all other Ugandans, Mr Museveni is reported to have tasked the Ministry of Finance to work with the Attorney General, Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka, to come up with a statutory instrument that tame money lenders.
“Money lenders all over the country are charging outrageous interest rates. So we would want that particular provision envisioned under Section 90 to be operationalised such that we have Regulations that will outlaw charging outside the prescribed interest rate in the law by money lenders,” Mr Obua said.
The Ministry of Finance officials were, therefore, tasked to “promulgate a statutory instrument to operationalise section 90 of tier 4 of the Microfinance and Money Lenders’ Act 2016 within two weeks to control interest rates.”