Ugandan Legislators on the Defense and Internal affairs committee have grilled the country’s police leadership over the exorbitant expenditure on public order management.
On Wednesday afternoon, a team of police officials led by Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police, James Baba, the Internal Affairs state minister and Permanent secretary Steven Kagoda appeared before the committee to defend the midterm expenditure frame work paper for the 2013/2014 financial year budget.
However, the committee was particularly concerned that police had spent 10.242 billion shillings to manage four incidents under the public order management as of September 2013. According to the 2013/2014 budget frame work, police is seeking another 40.2 billion shillings for managing 25 public order incidents.
Mohammed Muwanga Kivumbi, the Butambala county MP says spending 2.5 billion shillings on a single incident is exorbitant. He accused police management of hiding under public order management to hemorrhage of public funds.
However, Rogers Muhiirwa, the Under Secretary Uganda Police Force clarified that the figure included funds for General staff salaries, allowances, Welfare and Entertainment and others.
Simon Mulongo, the Bubulo East MP wouldn’t have any of this saying it was wrong to combine salaries together with operational funds and therefore dismissed Muhiirwa’s submission.
Kivumbi said he was not convinced with Muhiirwa’s explanation. He questioned whether the police leadership had failed to explain how the money allocated for public order management in the 2012/2013 financial year budget was spent, and wondered how they expect parliament to approve the next budget.
Benny Namugwanya Bugembe, the defense and internal affairs committee chairperson said the committee will examine the figures presented by the police leadership and make a decision on the matter. The committee has tasked police to provide a breakdown of the cost centers/ drivers in each of the public order incident to enable Parliament to make an informed decision on the budget request.
It also recommended that it is imperative for a national dialogue to be held urgently in Uganda so as to resolve the outstanding political questions saying that this will not only galvanize nationalism and patriotism but also forestall any further exorbitant costs of repressive approaches to public order management.