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.
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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.
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.
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.