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The East African : Aug 18th 2014
20 The EastAfrican OPINION AUGUST 16-22,2014 LAST WORD Randy by name, ≥andy by natu≥e: Guinea pig fathe≥s 100 newbo≥ns in fou≥ weeks… What’s in a name? A guin- ea pig rat in the UK called Randy fathered 100 newborns after breaking into a female pen undetected for four weeks. A further 80 births are expected at the petting zoo after Randy was found exhausted and surrounded by his pregnant conquests. He is back in the male enclosure but still has a “twinkle in his eye” after his exploits at Hatton Country World, near Warwick. Keeper Jess Middup, said: Joachim Buwembo Why Uganda’s MPs a≥e the highest paid bank≥upts in the count≥y... from an unclear source. It is believed that cash payments of Ush110 million to Ush150 million ($40,000 to $60,000) are being disbursed to the Members of Parliament, who number up to 380. The background to this is that most of T the honourable members are perpetually broke. Although they are among the highest public servants in Uganda, they simply cannot make ends meet. While most public servants like teachers, junior civil servants and policemen get about $100 a month, an MP earns $8,000 a month. However, the MPs claim that most of their salary is spent on their voters for whom they pay funeral and wedding expenses as well as school fees for children. It sounds warped but the excuse is so repetitively given it is now accepted as fact in Uganda. It is believed the MPs start tak- ing loans during the campaigns in order to bribe voters and buy votes, continue taking loans after being elected and live under constant threat of being arrested by moneylenders’ agents. It may sound bizarre but an average Ugandan MP is a frightened man or woman, living at the prison doorstep all the time. And so when they get audience with the president, they plead with him to help them pay off their debts, blaming the demanding vot- alk in Kampala is that Ugandan legislators have pulled off yet another financial stroke, getting their debts paid off ers for their financial woes. Because most of their salary is gobbled up by loan sharks, MPs are said to pick up any money that is offered to them before thinking of the conditions and implications of accepting the “free cash.” The money usually comes during “interesting times.” On the eve of lifting the constitutional presidential term limits in 2005, MPs received $3,000 each to go and consult their constituents. Late 2010 and early 2011 on the eve of the last election, the MPs got $8,000 each to go and consult over government agricultural programmes. After the elec- Illustration: John Nyagah tions, each MP got over $40,000 to buy a car. Recently, ruling party MPs got vari- ous sums to go and consult over a caucus resolution to front a single candidate for the 2016 election. And now comes the whopping $40,000 to $60,000, depending on one’s level of indebtedness. It does not matter what one’s political camp is; opposition leaders are accusing their MPs of being among the first to get the money. Ministers have denied that the government is the source of the money. It is as if some divine force were raining cash in the MPs’ pockets. Obviously giving free money will never solve MPs’ problems. The more they get the more they demand, and they get what they want. And so more people are led to believe that politics is the route to free money, and so are ready to do anything to get elected to parliament. This means borrowing money to buy votes, in the hope of recouping the money and paying off the debts once elected. So the incumbents who do not want to be unseated also borrow more to beat off the new competition. And the money demands of the political class thus spiral out of control. Someone will have to teach the basic use of money to Ugandan legislators; it is as simple as that. “He’s recovered from his exertions but we’ll keep an eye on him in case he makes a bid for freedom.” He continued. “We believe that Randy could have impregnated up to 100 female guinea pigs, which have litters of about four, so if you do the maths we could be expecting quite a baby boom.” Growing pot in an asylum? Where else? Hiding in plain sight? Shocked detectives have launched a hunt for daring drug dealers who set up a secret cannabis factory in the ward of a mental hospital in Cardiff, UK. Police stumbled upon the sophisticated undercover operation at Whitchurch Hospital while searching for a missing person. Thirty illegal plants — with an estimated street value of $53,000 — were growing in a disused ward. It is believed the dealer or gang responsible had also hooked up powerful ultra- violet lights and ventilators powered by the hospital’s electricity supply. Officers weeded out the criminal stash when they entered a former ward in the hospital’s main building that had been boarded up and left unused for decades. … Certainly serves to confuse police A drug addict criminal in Liverpool managed to escape police guard in hospital when blundering officers spent half an hour guarding an elderly patient instead. Craig Clamp was arrested after being accused of stealing from a supermarket, but he fell sick after swallowing a bag of heroin and had to be taken to hospital for his own safety. Somehow, at the hospital, police got confused and ended up guarding an elderly man instead of the 27-year-old heroin addict. Bless my sport cart car, give it long life Buddhist monks in China are under fire for apparently accepting cash to bless a businessman’s Porsche. The move has caused widespread anger across the country with the most recent example being when ICT boss Tao Hung asked Buddhists to bless his luxury sports car. Critics branded the blessing pointless, saying that if the man wanted to avoid accidents, he should drive slowly and take care not to count on God to do the job for him. Toddle≥ ente≥s White House, fails to ≥each Oval O∞ce Even the super-alert White House Secret Service missed this! A toddler squeezed through the White House gates, causing a brief security lockdown on Pennsylvania Avenue and amusing White House reporters awaiting late-breaking news on Iraq. “We were going to wait until he learned to talk to question him, but he got a timeout and was sent on his way with his parents,” Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan said in a statement provided to White House reporters. Secret Service agents reg- ularly close off the area due to suspicious packages near the White House, but pintsized intruders are far less common.
Aug 25th 2014
Aug 11th 2014