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Ugandan MPs to get snipers and armoured cars for security

AFRICA
By Reuters | July 13th 2018
Ugandan lawmakers to get sharpshooters and armoured cars for security. [Courtesy]

President Yoweri Museveni has approved increased security spending for Uganda's 456 members of parliament - including sharpshooters and armoured escort vehicles - after a ruling party lawmaker was shot dead.

Critics said the spending was wasteful and failed to address the security concerns of normal citizens who feared rampant crime in a country marked by unsolved murders, kidnappings for ransom, burglaries and robberies.

In a letter to the finance minister seen by Reuters yesterday, Museveni said the decision to boost security was taken after a meeting with members of parliament in which incidents of "criminality and terrorism" were discussed.

"MPs... have been singled out for intimidation and possibly attack. I have, therefore, decided to protect the members of parliament ... since they are being singled out," he said.

The killing of a ruling party lawmaker and his bodyguard on June 8 follows lethal attacks on Muslim leaders, a public prosecutor and a senior police officer. There have been no arrests in any of the cases.

Military sharp-shooters

Museveni said lawmakers would now be accompanied by military sharp-shooters and ordered the finance ministry to purchase armoured pick-up trucks to use as escort vehicles.

Rights groups and the opposition have accused the government of wasteful spending and failing to rein in corruption.

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In the 2018/19 (July-June) financial year, the government introduced new taxes and hiked existing ones, including a new levy on accessing social media sites.

"Ordinary Ugandans are being taxed heavily to meet wasteful expenditure of politicians," said Cissy Kagaba, executive director of Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda. "Security should be guaranteed for every Ugandan not for a few selected people ... it's pathetic and annoying," she said.

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