Former MPs want special status, recognition

At a dinner in Kampala at the weekend, former Members of Parliament made demands for special status in recognition of their contribution to the administration and development of the country.

The dinner held at Imperial Royale Hotel was for the forum of former Members of the 9th Parliament was intended to the former MPs’ life outside Parliament, their challenges and opportunities.

It is here that former Bunyole East MP Emmanuel Dombo asked government to stop side-lining them but instead accord them a special status.

“At some public functions, people do not want to recognize us because we are no longer Members of Parliament, and this has been a big challenge to many of us,” said Dombo.

He said that their status and role had often been disregarded following their exit from the legislature, citing the need for the association, which would provide a platform to offer guidance in governance.

Over 100 former MPs including former presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi attended.

The group’s chairperson, former Tororo Municipality MP Sanjay Tana, said, despite the continued support from President Yoweri Museveni and the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to get jobs, they are looking forward to a programme to cater for their gratuity.

Speaking at the dinner, Kadaga advised political leaders especially those in elective positions to plan for their retirement since politicians’ jobs are temporary.

“When you are in Parliament, you always believe that you are going to win the next election so you do not think about planning. What I’ve learnt is that we need to continue preparing members on exit plans,” Kadaga said.

Kadaga said that prompt planning is healthy in giving members, who lose out in subsequent elections, a chance to find a cause to pre-occupy them out of the usual routine of legislature and public representation.

She said that Parliament has been in the process of compiling a data base comprising MPs who served from the first to the current Parliament, meant for the public to know their former and current legislators.

Former Principal Judge, James Ogoola, said that the retirement of an MP often turns out to be dramatic because it comes when one least expects it.

“That is why you must be psychologically and financially ready by the time you hit retirement from Parliament. You should make your exit plan while in leadership,” he said.