Rukiga, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A dispute has erupted between Hebert Kabafunzaki, the Rukiga County Member of Parliament, district officials and residents over an ambulance. The dispute started after Kabafunzaki handed over an ambulance registration number UAU 677X to Rukiga district COVID-19 taskforce to transport patients from villages to health centres.
Kabafunzaki directed that the ambulance which he allegedly bought with his share of the 20 million Shillings COVID-19 allocation to MPs is handed to Kamwezi health centre IV in Kamwezi sub county. He, however added that he would withdraw it when COVID-19 pandemic is over.
But the district officials and residents questioned the move saying it contradicted the guidance given to all MPs when they were advised to give the money to the COVID-19 task force in the district or return it to the Parliamentary Commission. They faulted Kabafunzaki for declining to release the logbook of the ambulance to the district yet the keys were also given to his political assistant and not the task force.
District officials also doubted the sale agreement saying while the amount in words indicated that the ambulance was bought at 25 million Shillings, the amount in figures is 20 million Shillings. Rukiga Resident District Commissioner Purikeria Muhindo Mwine says they didn’t compel Kabafunzaki to handover the ambulance keys and other documents because he promised to meet the cost of fuel, service and driver’s allowances.
He explains that in case residents want to use the ambulance, they will have to first liaise with the taskforce to contact the one who is in charge.
Rukiga district vice chairperson Jackson Muganizi says that Kabafunzaki only organized a function to handover the ambulance which he later drove and parked at Kamwezi police station. He says they lost hope of owning the ambulance as the district after Kabafunzaki declined to handover it logbook and the purchase agreement.
Muganiizi says there is no way Kabafunzaki can assure the public that he has donated an ambulance to the district after buying it using Shillings 20 million he shared from parliament and decided to hold onto it.
Michael Kwarikunda Mbareeba, the Rukiga district male youth councilor says Kabafunzaki is only hoodwinking voters so that they believe that he fully utilised 20 million Shillings he received from parliament. Kwarikunda adds that the said ambulance is owned by Kabafunzaki’s personal assistant, a resident of Hamurwa town council in Rubanda district.
But Kabafunzaki insists that he bought the ambulance at 20 million Shillings after securing a discount from the seller. He adds that in addition to the ambulance, he has already invested more than 12 million Shillings to print and distribute 10,000 posters sensitizing residents about COVID-19.