Big Story: Parliament’s Probe on Electoral Violence Suffers Setback Over Funding

The Human Rights Committee of parliament has decided to postpone investigations into cases of electoral violence due to funding.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has directed the Committee to take stock of the human rights violations that marred the electoral process.  Although the committee was expected to start work last week and conclude in a month, URN has learnt that it doesn’t have money for fieldwork.

As part of the investigations, the committee has planned to interact with Presidential candidates, security agencies including the police and the army as well as the victims of the said violations. 

Each MP on the committee earns Shillings 400,000 in per diem for a day while the other members of delegation get between Shillings 200,000 and 300,000 per day. There are 30 members on the committee. 

At least Shillings 100 million is required on average for the committees depending on the number of days. Parliament pays for the meals and accommodation separately among other requirements for the legislators and parliamentary staff.    

The Human Rights Committee Chairperson Janepher Egunyu Nantume told URN that they are facing some administrative challenges, which have hindered the start of the work.  According to a source within the committee, Parliament didn’t budget for standing committees in the third quarter and they are only waiting for the next course of action. “We have to go to the field, you have to pay the security officers, the drivers, and take care of business but this money is not there, we only have the allowances of MPs,” the source said. 

Standing committees do last for two and a half years and are set up at the start of a new term of Parliament and after two and half years.  The Probe may or may not happen since the 10th Parliament is ending in May, and a proposal to have the investigations done in the next quarter (April-May) could be delayed.

Hellen Kaweesa, the Acting Director Corporate and Public Affairs of Parliament, says that budget cuts have affected most departments of Parliament because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation.  She says that some activities including committee work has been put on hold especially that requires moving out of Parliament.    

URN could not find out how much money was cut from Parliaments’ budget. Parliament has an estimated budget of Shillings 600 Billion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *