Parliament is set to hold its annual week where the public will access the precincts and engage with Members of Parliament.
“The Parliamentary Commission and management decided to allocate one week each year to open Parliament for public engagement,” the Director Communication and Public Affairs, Chris Obore said.
The Parliament Week will be held from 21st to 27th January 2018 under the theme, “Parliament, the voice of the people”.
The event will kick-off with a fundraising walk, which will be flagged off by the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.
The proceeds of the walk will go towards establishment of a community rehabilitation centre for persons with albinism.
It is expected to serve as a one-stop centre where persons with albinism will be empowered through skills improvement, rehabilitation and civic education.
“We started the fundraising last year and we shall continue this year because it is a five-year project, which requires a lot of money, and we call on stakeholders to join this cause,” said Obore.
A multidenominational thanksgiving service will also be held as part of the activities to launch the Parliament Week. During the service, funds contributed as part of offertory will be dedicated to the fundraising drive for the albino community rehabilitation centre.
There will also be a session with civil society aimed at evaluating the performance of Parliament so as to make the institution better.
“We need to harness views from civil society and academia because we think they have valuable knowledge about Parliament,” said Obore.
Members of the public will further have an opportunity to hold a debate in the Parliamentary chambers.
The public will constitute the parliament with representatives from the ruling party, the Opposition and Independents. Obore said that the members will be expected to choose a motion, debate it and make resolutions.
“The aim is to enable members of the public get a feel of what it means to be an MP and provide them a platform to gain confidence to become legislators,” said Obore.
During the Parliament Week, the public will also be able to meet their MPs and interact with them.
Similarly, various departments in Parliament will have a chance to educate the public about their roles.
Additionally, there will be a Corporate Social Responsibility drive aimed at greening Uganda by planting trees at selected areas in the country as one of the ways to fight desertification and also set an example for the community.
Obore reiterated that during the Parliament Week, the public will have open access to Parliament.
He said that security will provide safety checks to ensure that people are safe while in Parliament.
“Much as Parliament is open, security has to be present, not to discourage people from coming but to keep them safe,” added Obore.
Last year, the event attracted an estimated 3,000 members of the public.
Last year’s fundraising proceeds were channelled towards provision of re-usable sanitary pads to school girls in Northern Uganda as well as improving the lives of persons with albinism.
Uganda Shillings 35 million was raised towards establishment of a centre for persons with albinism.