GULU — Ruhinda North Member of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa has met with Members of Parliament elect from Acholi Sub Region.
At least 22 MPs, Leader of Opposition Betty Aol Ocan and Eng. Hillary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees attended the meeting held at Bomah Hotel in Gulu City.
Tayebwa who announced his bid for the Deputy Speakership of the 11th Parliament said he wants to focus on legislators’ welfare, equality and unity.
From his experience in Parliament, he said:
“I understand the issues to do with our welfare and we will be very strong about them,” he told MPs.
He said some MPs have been forced to acquire huge loans to facilitate voters’ demands including burial, school fees, weddings among others.
“When you don’t do it, somebody else does it and you lose,” he said, noting facilitating MPs well will relieve them of intense pressure from electorates.
On equality, he said all MPs deserve equal treatment in the house and said: “I want to bring the office of speakership down to the back benchers. There things we just joke around them with but I have seen the experience of a back bencher. There’s a big difference between them (back benchers) and seniors in Parliament.”
A back bencher is a Member of Parliament who does not hold the portfolio of Minister both in government and the Opposition.
Back Bench Members cannot occupy the front seats in Parliament since they are reserved for Ministers.
Tayebwa also tipped the MPs elect on financial discipline and warned them against living lavishly at the expense of their voters.
The Leader of Opposition Ms. Acan thanked Mr. Tayebwa for mentoring the MPs including those from the opposition.
She reechoed Tayebwa’s call and warned MPs to be very careful on acquiring huge loans from money lenders—noting that: “at the end of five years you will be more miserable and poorer than you joined Parliament”.
For the time she has spent in Parliament, Ms. Acan said she has witnessed newcomers in the house drowning in the sea of loans and becoming poorer for good.
She said most MPs do come in Parliament with huge debts, and government has used debts as leverage to hook them to pass bills that are in his favours by promising to clear them off.