Members of Parliament (MPs) want an investigation into the Shs13bn the Ministry of Tourism paid for Uganda to host the flopped 2021 MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA).
The MAMAs were scheduled to take place on February 20th, 2021. The event would have been hosted virtually from Miami, USA, by DJ Khaled, and air across the globe on MTV for the very first time.
The awards were later cancelled over public backlash that government wanted to use the awards to try whitewash Uganda’s image at international scene. This was shortly after the controversial 2021 general elections.
The Auditor General revealed that the Ministry of Tourism signed an agreement with a foreign company on 5th February 2020 to enable Uganda host the 2021 edition of MTV Africa Music Awards.
The government agreed to a sponsorship fee of Shs13bn that was paid in two installments of Shs10.4bn that was paid on 12th March 2020 and another Shs2.6bn paid on 19th January 2021.
Due to Covid-19 & heightened electoral season, the awards were cancelled & Uganda was only meant to be paid Shs3.2bn out of the Shs13bn it had paid to the organizers. Government failed to recover the funds, thus prompting MPs to demand for a probe into this deal.
Allan Atugonza (Buliisa County MP) noted that ‘time has come in this country where we need to say, enough is enough’. “This isn’t only in the Ministry of Tourism. This is a replica in a number of Ministries whereby so long as people feel they aren’t benefitting or people feel they have benefitted, they don’t care about the output,” Atugonza said.
He added: “They sunk it in the MAMA Awards & they haven’t followed it up, the awards didn’t take place it is because either someone was interested in getting something, so they don’t care.”
The Nakawa East MP, Balimwezo Nsubuga, said: “It is unfortunate that up to now, there hasn’t been any accountability on the expenditure of the Shs13bn. We want to find ways of whipping the accounting officers who expended this money.
He added: “We are going to call for a thorough investigation into this matter & into what happened to this money & we demand that the people responsible for this expenditure must be investigated and whipped.”
Isaac Katenya, the Bulambuli County MP complained that money is spent on companies where the country doesn’t have profitability yet most of this money is borrowed & Ugandans have to repay it.
He said: “The country has key priorities which aren’t being attended to but we give money to certain companies which can’t fulfill their commitments. As Parliament, we condemn that; we think whoever is responsible for such losses should be held accountable & pay for the loss.”