PARLIAMENT! Panic grips UWOPA staff over looming job loss

UWOPA Executive Members after being elected on 29th October 2021 at Kabira Country Club, Kampala, Uganda

There’s panic among staff of parliament especially those working with Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA). For the uninitiated, UWOPA is a Parliament Caucus composed of all women members of parliament but open to male members as associates or honorary members. This Association was established during the 5th parliament of Uganda (1989-1994) with the aim of engendering the legislative process, creating awareness campaigns and encouraging lobbying and advocacy, networking, exchange programmes, training and institutional and organizational capacity building.

UWOPA provides a forum for women members of parliament to discuss, share experiences and support activities that facilitate women’s participation and leadership in all dimensions of politics including socio economics, science and technology. It has a secretariat at Parliament.

Snoops have learnt that the new UWOPA boss also Tororo woman MP Sarah Opendi is itching to show all of them marching orders and a new set of staff get into these offices. It has become a norm in our today’s Uganda for leaders once they get into such offices to come in with their own (relatives, friends and associates) to also eat for a time being.

This alleged rumor has sent shock waves among staff insisting that they are still legally enjoying their offices. In fact, according to details seen by snoops, the staff have running contracts spanning from December 2020 to 2026. Others have contracts ending in 2023 and 2024.

So threatening the move is, that even the UWOPA executive is reported to be sharply divided on this matter with some warning of dire consequences if implemented. The UWOPA executive serves for 2 and half years before being replaced through a secret ballot.

Those reported to be against include Linda Auma (publicity secretary), Acan Judith (Northern region representative) and Namukuta Brenda (treasurer).

Those siding with Opendi reportedly include Brenda Nabukenya (vice), Namugga Gareth (central region representative), Agnes Kirabo (undecided), Catherine Ndamira (Western region representative), Laura Kanushu (PWD representative) and ironically, Margaret Rwabushaija (workers representative).

“Their source of anger is on dimes. The Opendi group claims these people are earning like PSs. Very hefty salary yet they have no constituency to spend that money. Why?” says an insider.

Indeed, when we looked at the salaries, we found one staff earning 9.5m, another 5m, another 1.5m, another Shs670k and two others earning a miserable Shs400k.

However, the funny thing is that UWOPA is already running its activities without bank accounts after former staff who were knifed in the similar manner won a case against the same entity. The staff were knifed by then former UWOPA boss Betty Amongi only for them to drag the entity to court. The court found UWOPA guilty and fined them with Shs265m which they are up to now yet to clear. We are told the Speaker has already asked UWOPA to pay those former staff after the entity tried to approach her to order for the reopening of their account. Most of the staff signed their contracts in 2020 and 2021 but are now threatened with job loss, something they warn will devastate UWOPA the more if done.

This threat we’re told has now started chasing away some of the UWOPA members to join the newly born parallel organization called UMEPA or Uganda Men Parliamentary Association being championed by NRM caucus publicity secretary Alex Brandon. Opendi could not be reached for a comment by press time.

UWOPA gets funding in billions form Parliament of Uganda, Plan International, Spotlight Initiative, UN Women, and Westminster Foundation for Democracy, National Democratic Institute, and Urgent action fund for women’s democracy.UWOPA Executive include; Brenda Nabukenya (Luwero WMP) as Vice Chairperson; Hope Grania Nakazibwe (Mubende WMP) as the Secretary General; Linda Agnes Auma (Lira WMP) as Publicity Secretary; Brenda Namukuta (Kaliro WMP) as the Treasurer; Margaret Rwabushaija (Workers) as Workers Representative; Laura Kanushu (National rep PWD’s) as the PWD’s Representative; Peace Judith Acan (Nyowa WMP) as the Northern Region Representative; Evelyn Chemutai (Bwoko WMP) as the Eastern Region Representative; Gorreti  Namugga (Mawogola County MP) as the Central region representative and Catherine Ndamira (Kabale WMP) as the Western Region Representative).Watch this space!

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