By Mubatsi Asinja Habati
State House, Uganda's presidential home, spending habits should get every right thinking Ugandan concerned. Just six months after the NRM dominated parliament passed a hurried Shs600 billion supplementary budget during the 2011 presidential elections, President Museveni is asking for another Shs14 billion supplementary budget to meet his entertainment and travel needs.
What is more disturbing are arrogant comments from Tamale Mirundi, the president's deputy press secretary, who argues that Ugandans should thank Museveni because he is a performer instead of complaining about his budget. This is a third supplementary budget request from State House implying the cost of maintaining the presidency is becoming expensively high. If granted, in the same financial year State House will have got Shs190 billion, this excludes the budget for the Office of the President.
In a hard economic time like this where many Ugandans are surviving on a meal a day, in Namutumba malnourished children are dieing because of insufficient medical attention as health centres constantly run out of medicines, teachers are striking demanding a pay rise, and the inflation levels (now at 21.4%) are making people uncomfortable we should be hearing reasonable comments from state house. It's betrayal of the people when the likes of Mirundi keep on reminding Ugandans of how they should be grateful to Museveni (State House wants Shs14b in supplementary budget) when many are dieing indirectly because of corruption by government officials.
How Shs14 billion State House will be spent if granted:
Welfare and entertainment Shs400 million
Travel abroad Shs2.7 billion
Travel inland Shs3.9 billion
Electricity Shs300 million
Water Shs100 million
Specialised security machinery Shs1.6 billion
Classified Shs2 billion
Staff training Shs530.7 million
General supply of goods & services Shs286m
Maintenance Shs1.98 billion
Insurance Shs163.2 million