Government is finalizing the process of relocating the Uganda Prisons head offices and the Ministry of Lands office at Parliament Avenue in Kampala, Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa has said.
The planned relocation follows a request by the Parliamentary Commission to take over buildings adjacent to parliament in order to ease operations of the legislature which is currently constrained due to limited space.
With huge expectations dampened by lack of office space, new MPs, who expected comfort, luxurious life and special treatment had to readjust to the reality when after their inauguration,were asked to share offices with colleagues .
At least three MPs shall share a single office with the exception of House leaders and committee chairpersons.
This did not go well with some members. Some of the MPs complained saying it will an embarrassment for honorable MPs to squeeze themselves into small offices that are not befitting of their status. “Being a Member of Parliament, you need to have privacy but in this case, members are deprived of their privacy. MPs behave differently. If an office is given to three MPs, two should occupy it and one should be given money to find own office space,” some MPs had said.
Now with the planned take over of the two buildings, its assumed that the sitting space crisis that parliament currently faces will be eased.
Speaking about the takeover, speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said that the two buildings will become part of Parliament and the road that crosses through them will cease being a public road.
The communication came after Manjiya County MP John Nambeshe raised a query on the safety of MPs amid busy public roads adjacent to parliament.
Nambeshe said that Members with offices on Development House find difficulty in accessing their offices due to heavy traffic and a number of reckless drivers. He suggested that as parliament waits for the construction of a flyover, a zebra crossing should be put in place to make it easy for MPs to move from their offices and access parliament building.
Parliament has more than 400 members and does not have enough provision for office space. As a result MPs are squeezed into the available offices, an arrangement they say, is uncomfortable. The current chamber was also constructed to accommodate only 80 MPs.
Kadaga said the takeover is long overdue.
“But now government has heard from you, not just the commission, I hope that they can be able to do what we needed to get these properties to become part of parliament, we close the road and the members can be able to move anytime”, Kadaga said.
She also noted that parliament asked Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to install a Zebra crossing but instead installed a crosswalk which is not serving the purpose.
Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa said that government is searching for offices elsewhere to accommodate the two departments before the buildings are handed over to parliament.