Monday, July 29, 2013


For the second time since the beginning of this year it was reported that MPs of the NRM caucus ambushed President Yoweri Museveni with a request for him to employ his good office to alleviate their debt burden.

The first time this report came out was in March.

"But last year another report indicated that MPs were up to their necks in debt, with as much as sh20b owed to banks, suppliers and loan sharks. Debt in itself is not bad and is actually critical to wealth creation. But many of the MPs had squandered the contracted debt on high living and risky speculation and were taking home several thousands out of their sh20m a month pay checks...

In regular society a person who cannot meet his credit obligations is avoided like the plague and his day of reckoning – when he has dug all the holes he can to fill other holes, comes soon enough.

But our MPs are not normal members of society.

To begin which they are referred to as honourable, a title which bestows upon them a certain halo of uprightness and dignity. The human brain tends to cut corners in its decision making processes, so if society has bestowed that title on you we take it at face value and treat you as such – until we find out different.

And in relation to this they can seek refuge in the precincts of parliament and no one can find them there. For anyone who has had creditors on their necks for payment they can understand the benefits of such a safe haven.

But more importantly MPs are tasked with the carrying out such serious tasks as making laws and approving the government budget.

For this reason alone we cannot leave the MPs plight to discussions over a beer.

"Given their important role, it is not inconceivable that a person with deep pockets can “buy” that house and have them singing their bidding. After all sh20b or about $8 million is pocket change for someone wanting access to the vast mineral resources this country possesses or to ok a loan request or make laws that would be detrimental to the general public...

This week it was reported that already overtures were made to a foreign nation to clear this debt. I have my doubts about that, suspecting it was a ploy to arm twist the executive to pay up, but it still raises some ugly possibilities.

But also that our MPs can find themselves weighed down by such debilitating debt speaks volume about our society’s failures.

At the core of the problem is our general financial illiteracy. We generally believe that money will solve all our problems and that we are not obligated to repay our loans.

So sometimes when we happen on financial bonanzas – like the MPs have we take a rural approach to urban excitement and quickly find out having money comes with obligations, though it might take us a few more collapses to learn the laws of money.

"For the health of their own business the creditors may consider having these politicians declared bankrupt. In one fell swoop we would have rid the house of these MPs who are a danger not only to themselves but to society at large and this would also act as an example to their contemporaries and aspiring politicians....

It would be wrong for government to bail them out as it would deny them the lesson and encourage moral hazard. That would be the right thing to do, the political solution maybe very different.

Whichever way it falls this situation has to be resolved soon before our legislative process are mortgaged to the highest bidder.

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