Kapelebyong independent MP Julius Ochen has told his voters not to ask for accountability of the Shs 29m meant to facilitate consultations on the controversial age limit bill.
Ochen said he has instead channeled the money to procuring 10 ox-ploughs and bulls to help in tilling school gardens to grow food crops and feed pupils at school in five sub-counties.
“When a thief robs you of your property and runs here to drop that money, you must be insane to return it,” Ochen said while handing over the items to various school management committees at Obalang sub-county last week.
“Cattle rustlers could come to Kapelebyong to raid our cows but our fathers followed the Karimojong footmarks and brought the weak cattle. I have done exactly what I learnt from our fathers.”
Last month, parliament released Shs 13bn to all MPs but some have already returned the money while others claim they would use it to improve health, water and education services in their rural constituencies.
The age limit bill, initiated by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, seeks to amend Article 102 (b) of the Constitution which provides for the 35 and 75-year caps for presidential hopefuls.
According to Ochen, it was timely for parliament to release the money given the failing education and health systems in the Eastern region. Kapelebyong is one of the counties in Amuria district which suffered the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency.
“Our education and health systems were destroyed by the bad administration of President Museveni. People are dying in villages and you cannot return that money because this is an opportunity to bring change and sanity to correct the problem,” he said.
He urged schools to grow cassava, maize, vegetables and beans to ensure that all learners have midday meals at schools.
With over 10 primary schools in Kapelebyong, each will receive at least two oxen and an ox-plough in the meantime.
Paul British Esogu, a member of the education committee for Amuria district council, said the items will help reduce on learner absenteeism due to lack of meals at school.
“School feeding is one of the biggest challenges affecting performance in Amuria district. Now that we have received such assistance, we expect a lot of changes in our education system,” Esogu said. “Children only carry boiled potatoes to school during the peak season from September to early December.”
John Robert Olwenyi, a resident of Angaro village, requested other MPs from Teso to emulate Ochen by sharing part of their consultation money to feed pupils.