Parliament

Staff working with the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) are living in fear over reports that the new leadership wants to terminate their contracts.

A top executive member of the association, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that they plan to lay off the staff whose contracts run up to 2024.

“Yes, it is true but we are trying to find ways of handling it amicably,” the source said.

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UWOPA is currently headed by Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi.

The looming layoffs have left the affected staff depressed.

“We are not in good mental health after receiving the information concerning the termination of our contracts. We are wondering why our bosses want to do this before informing us,” one of the affected staff told said on condition of anonymity.

Another staff member said: “It has happened to UWOPA staff before in 2012 when the former boss also fired the then staff.”

The UWOPA leadership consists of six staff and two volunteers. Those facing the sack include the executive director, the programmes director, the finance and administrative manager, communications officer, programme assistant and transport officer.

But Igara West MP Gaffa Mbwatekamwa, who is a member of the UWOPA, opposed the looming termination of staff.

 “There are no valid reasons for termination but all I hear is that they are trying to bring their own people. You know whoever is there as the chairperson tries to bring her own people to work in that office,” Mr Mbwatekamwa said.

Mr Mbwatekamwa further explained that the staff changes affect the association’s funding.

“It has been happening and whenever it happens, it affects funding and the funders,” he said.

When contacted, UWOPA chairperson Opendi said she would issue a comprehensive statement on the matter after holding a board meeting this week.

“Can you wait for UWOPA to communicate officially? UWOPA is just an association. We have had so many companies downsizing after Covid. So similarly for UWOPA, if it cannot meet its operational costs, it will definitely make changes to its expenditures,” she said.

She added: “We have not yet communicated. We sat as a board, we are going to sit and we will issue a final communication.”

UWOPA is composed of all women MPs and some male MPs.

The association is a forum for MPs to discuss, share experiences and support activities that facilitate women’s participation in leadership in all dimensions of politics across the country and beyond.