Uganda: MPs Tipped on Coping With Life After Parliament

Members of Parliament (MPs) on Thursday received tips on how to cope with life after leaving Parliament.

The two-day seminar, which ends today, was organised to guide MPs on how to live a purposeful life after serving their respective stints in Parliament.

The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, during the seminar at Parliament said she was delighted that the institution was organising such an event, the first of its kind, to not only celebrate the achievements of the 10th Parliament but also to prepare members on coping after leaving the August House.

"In the past, we used to have a dance, dinner, and, everybody leaves. But then, we thought of an idea of how members can look out for each other after leaving Parliament, hence such seminars," she said.

Ms Kadaga then advised her colleagues that there is life after Parliament. "Of course, it is going to be different, without a programme. You won't be attending committee meetings, plenary and going for field trips as you have been," she told the MPs.

Ms Kadaga advised the MPs to always find ways of navigating life outside Parliament so that they live comfortably.

Other facilitators also addressed the MPs. One of them, Mr Albert Charles Oduman, a former MP for Bukedea constituency who served in the 8th Parliament, stressed that exiting the House is different from leaving any other job.

"It is because the higher you go in a profession, the harder the fall might be. Many times, when someone becomes an MP, it is a sudden elevation in their profile, income, privileges, and standing in society. All these aspects change after leaving office," Mr Oduman said.

He added: "And I want to say that whenever an MP leaves Parliament (and they go job- hunting), respective employers unlikely view them like the rest of the other candidates simply because of their former status and so, they cannot easily come to terms with the idea of how a former MP wants to work with them."

Mr Oduman noted that in the end, the impact and adjusting from one's exit from Parliament can become very challenging, painful and stressful.

"I even know of a former MP who (after Parliament) opted to work in a company where he was receiving a salary of Shs100,000 and the idea was so that he could have a base, an address. These are the realities of being outside there," he counselled.

The former MP advised the legislators that after leaving Parliament, they should accept what has happened and then spend time re-organising themselves, especially if they are thinking of contesting again. He also encouraged the exiting members to re-work their curriculum vitae (CVs), especially if they plan to seek employment.

The other notable facilitators who spoke to the MPs included Mr Charles Ocici, the executive director of Enteprise Uganda, who gave a brief lecture on personal finance management.

"Once that (hefty) salary stops coming in, inform those who matter but also, be ready for ridicule," Mr Ocici said, adding: "Parliament is not the end of the road. Re-set your mind, re-organise your cash flow and start surrounding yourself with friends that understand the current circumstances."

Ms Olivia Birungi Lumonya, the country director at SOS children's villages Uganda, lectured the MPs on the essence of personal branding after leaving Parliament.

"Re-brand yourself by creating a brand identity, a magnet that attracts clients, job offers and opportunities. As a former MP, you still have the blocks of building your brand with the experience and knowledge attained from Parliament," Ms Lumonya said.

Rather than retreat into a life of solitude, the last facilitator of the day, Sarah Kiyingi Kyama, a counselor, lecturer and author, urged the outgoing MPs to find ways of sharing their attained wealth of experience and knowledge. "If you can, go to schools and give lectures to students," she said.

At the same event, the legislators launched the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference publication and awarded some of the MPs ornamental tablets as a recognition for their respective distinguished service in Parliament.

Source: The Monitor

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