Members of Parliament have confessed being bribed with sacks of sugar and money to support the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2016.
The bill seeks to raise judges’ retirement age and remove term limits on electoral commissioners.
The Observer reports that this was during a meeting that took place at Crested Crane Hotel in Jinja on August 23 dubbed “Uganda parliamentarians forum on food security, population and development”.
Nakifuma MP Kafeero Ssekitooleko, who is proposing the bill was among the 27 MPs who attended the meeting.
FDC’s Anthony Akol, the Kilak North MP who attended the meeting has since spilled horrendous secrets.
This is his statement:
I was called at about 8.30 am on August 23 by someone and I was told that there was a meeting I had to attend in Jinja at Crested Crane Hotel on the same day starting at 10.00 am.
I was told it was an important meeting which I should not miss. I was told that it was organized by the Food Security forum in parliament.
I panicked and set off. While in Mabira forest, I called one of the MPs in Jinja who told me that the meeting was yet to start.
The MP told me not to rush but to take my time. At about 11.00 am, I reached Crested Crane hotel where I found other MPs.
We were 27 MPs although in opposition we were three. I started sensing that something was not proper.
Later [Cissy] Namujju (Lwengo) came and addressed us and told us that she had been delegated by Ssekitooleko who was still on his way.
Other NRM MPs who were there included Panadol (Peter Mugema), there was Paul Amoru (Dokolo).
After, she said that breakfast and lunch had been organized for us in an Indian restaurant in Jinja town. We set off to the restaurant.
When we reached there, some MPs started complaining that there were cameras all over the place.
At first I did not understand why this was an issue but later a friend of mine, a woman MP told me the main reason why we were there [to be given something].
It was decided that we go back to Crested Crane hotel.
When we reached there, we found Ssekitooleko. He told us that he wanted us to support his bill.
Later he held a closed door meeting with Amoru and Mugema. At this point I called the leader of opposition in parliament but she was not picking her phone.
I called Hon Reagan Okumu, the MP for Aswa, and told him what was happening.
When they came back from the meeting some members said they wanted to go back to Kampala since there was plenary.
Ssekitooleko said that before we go back, we should tour a sugar factory in Mayuge.
We went to the sugar factory and we were taken around by an Indian manager. We were given booklets about the factory.
At the factory we had another brief meeting in which Ssekitooleko emphasized the importance of the bill.
After the meeting, he motioned to the Indian manager who gave each of us a 50kg bag of Sugar and a Khaki envelope containing Shs 1 million. We then drove back to Kampala.
When we reached Kampala, some NRM MPs realized that they had made a mistake to invite opposition MPs like us. They feared that we would reveal what had happened.
I have decided to go on record because it is important for the country to know what is taking place.