MPs Fight for Limited Office Space

1954 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
A story of MPs fighting for office space and refusing to share offices

Members of parliament  are fighting for office space. Several have refused to share the limited space with their colleagues.

Information available from parliament indicates that since Monday  when the process of office allocation started through the party whips, a number of MPs have stubbornly declined to share office space with their colleagues. Three MPs that Uganda Radio Network talked to  but who declined to have their names revealed said they would rather wait until more space is provided than share with anyone.

But the Public Relations Manager, Hellen Kawessa said the MPs were being unfair to the parliamentary commission that is devising means of getting all of them covered. She said that there are currently only 254 rooms for the new 375 MPs.

The current parliament has up to 386 members; 375 directly elected and 11 ex-officio. With seventy six of them ministers and two others speaker and deputy respectively, this leaves about 308 legislators who have to share the available 254 rooms.

The large numbers are giving the parliamentary commission a headache not only for office space but also for the debating chamber. Since the Ninth parliament was sworn in,  the members have never sat in the debate chamber, preferring to use the conference hall on the basement.

Kawessa said they will now give priority to more senior MPs including those who are older, have stayed longer in the house, chairpersons, commissioners and those who are senior party officials.

But as the MPs fight for the limited space, it has also emerged that the owners of Baumann House, opposite the main gate parliamentary gate, have increased their rent cost from the original 14 to 18 dollars per square meters. Baumann house, owned by businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, has been hired by the commission since 2006.

Due to the housing crises that the house now finds itself in, the commission recently ran into more trouble when its request to have the PPDA waive off conditions for tender for office space was rejected by the procurement body.

The commission now finds itself in an awkward position where it has to advertise to get an alternative office space for the many MPs within the next two weeks or be forced to sign a new contract with Sudhir to rent his Baumann house at his new cost.

A source at parliament said the new cost is higher than the rest being considered near parliament.

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