ABOUT the burial of our honourable Members of Parliament costing so much money, or even the idea that they are being planned so well, I think we should all calm down a little bit.
To be quite frank, there seems to be insufficient information in the public domain around the Ushs50million for the burial expenses of Parliamentarians.
The ‘worst case’ scenario has it that somehow we have allocated Ushs50million for the burial of each Member of Parliament just in case they die. The ‘best case’ scenario is that we are paying an annual insurance premium that will cover burial expenses of up to Ushs50million in the event that a Parliamentarian expires.
Neither of the two options should be of direct much concern because we all, whenever we get any special-ness accorded to us, go for the very best benefits we can find – all costs be damned.
Just think of an average wedding day, for instance, when the bagole ride around in limousines the cost of which (just to hire for the day) is more than our average monthly pay (for the couple) – and that’s just one small bit of it. Most of us know that when we are appointed to the leadership of any organisation we will get a large, new four-wheel-drive vehicle regardless of how well that organisation is doing profit-wise. We like our benefits and perks, whether we are Parliamentarians or not.
So rather than gripe about this decision, how about we approach this Ushs50million for burials a little differently?
For instance, let’s insert some rules into this benefit:
Let’s agree that the money be allocated and spent on burying our honourable Ugandans provided that it is all spent strictly within the Constituencies that they represent. They can only, therefore, receive the cash inside a banking hall located in their own Constituency – which means that all MPs should ensure that at least one commercial bank or financial institutions opens a branch in their Constituency before they (the MP) die. In the same vein, all fuel will be issued for redemption at fuel stations located within the burial Constituency itself – nowhere else.
All the Orders of Service for the event must be printed within the Constituency (printing company with electricity investment opportunity); and the wreaths must all be made from there as well, using flowers grown there by Constituents (a new line of business and employment, no doubt, in most of these places); and all the food must be prepared from within the Constituency by local people who must prove that the food being served was grown within that very same Constituency; plus the chairs, tents and public announcement system for the event will be hired from there as well.
As for the caskets, I know a guy in Kabarole called Vianney Byaruhanga (0774162930 or 0702162930) from ‘Replica Designs’ who makes fantastic caskets that look and feel exactly like the imported ones sold by the high end funeral homes in Uganda. He is an artist and craftsman who is plying his trade up there in the village and providing these funereal items at only a small fraction of the cost of the imported ones, and is always flabbergasted that Kampala people prefer to spend larger amounts on imports rather than on his.
Can we have one Vianney Byaruhanga in every constituency? Of course – especially if we invest part of that Ushs50million into them.
Just as we can have more ceremonial suits and dresses being designed and produced here if the rules of the Ushs50million burial monies state that the honourable Parliamentarians can only be buried in clothing made in their Constituencies – otherwise if they get buried in colourful shorts or other clothing bought in Boston during UNAA conventions then they forfeit the clothing segment of the Ushs50million…
This Ushs50million, by the way, can be a very useful Constituency Development Fund if used properly. Since our Members of Parliament are most probably the most organised persons in our Constituencies, hence their being chosen to represent us, they certainly will display the habits or organised persons – such as having pre-planned burial grounds managed by a will and testament complete with codicils along the way. If we used even Ushs20,000 of that Ushs50million every month in developing those burial grounds, planting flowers and shrubbery to beautify them, and generally setting an example for the rest of us ordinary mortals so that we do the same.
By the time we get to the burial of the Honourable MP their burial grounds will be so well-appointed that the ceremony will be held in an atmosphere befitting of their honourable lives here on earth, simply by applying the Ushs50million appropriately.
And that’s the last element of this Ushs50million Parliamentary Burial Expense, for now – accepting it is good practice if it is implemented with a lot of planning linked to the other elements of our society and economy. Allow them to do it right so that they can quickly move on to planning for the rest of us and also to other more important things.
If they can finish this kaboozi quickly then maybe the next item on the Agenda will be a National Health Insurance scheme, or a National Investment Scheme of sorts that would emulate the formation of an investment club amongst Members of Parliament that would see more companies coming onto the Stock Exchange being funded by their vast amounts of investment funds from the savings they make by not worrying about the things the rest of us have to deal with.