National, News

Parliament prepares to relocate to renovated premises

By Bida Elly David


After the parliamentary sittings were relocated to the Freedom Hall approximately four years ago to allow for the renovation of the main premises, the national assembly is now preparing to move back as the renovation work is nearing completion.

The Reconstituted transitional national legislative Assembly for the last four years has been conducting their parliamentary sittings at the Freedom Hall paying a huge sum of money for the hire.

Rt. Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba, the speaker of the assembly, said the relocation back to the main premises will save the House from paying a lot of money for hiring the public hall.

“We are hoping that we will be able to open our sessions inside our premises here; that is our hope, and the rest are in the hands of the engineer,” Nunu told reporters yesterday.

The speaker accounted for numerous events, such as weddings and political occasions, among others, that were a stumbling block to some procrastinated parliamentary sessions.

“In freedom hall, sometimes we stay for a week or two weeks without sittings because another function is taking place; sometimes we go on Monday, finding the place not ready,” she decried.

She added that they have been affected by untimely sittings due to the delayed arrangements and bookings made by people.

The new parliament has set up two main halls for conducting parliamentary sessions, which means it will accommodate a large number of lawmakers.

“They have to clean the place until 11 o’clock; we start our sitting midday; this is not good for us. We will try our best to get our two halls ready,” she said.

According to Nunu, the main parliament building renovation has covered 90% of its arrangement, noting that the engineers are finalizing the air conditioning and finally positioning the internal furniture for consumption.

On his part, Hon. Peter Lomude, a lawmaker representing Yei County under the SSOA party, commended the speaker’s announcement for shifting sessions to the main premise.

The lawmaker said the relocation will save the lawmakers from the unfriendly environment of Freedom Hall.

Lomude stated that most lawmakers have not been comfortable attending sittings at the Freedom Hall, saying the washrooms are not in good shape and even dirty.

He also stated that dogs have taken the hall as their resting place, noting that it will be worse if international diplomats pay a courtesy visit and find this story.

“We are happy with the transfer news; we are not enjoying sitting in the freedom hall with the washrooms very dirty, and sometimes dogs enter the hall; this gives a bad image of the lawmakers to the world,” he said.

He also questioned why the main parliament had taken so long to be renovated while MPs have a lot of sittings.

“The building has taken a long time since the time of Wani Igga and Anthony Lino Makana, among others. What is really going on? We need it to be finished and enjoy the sittings,” he said.

He added that parliamentary sessions will move well if the environment is suitable for all lawmakers and visitors from outside.



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