By Mary Karugaba
PARLIAMENT has locked the offices of the 77 MPs sent out of the House early this month.
Sources said the locks to the offices were removed and new ones installed to prevent the loss of both the parliamentary commissionâ€™s property and those of the MPs.
â€œAll the locks were changed so that when they come to clear their offices, the sergeant at arms has to accompany them, open and lock the offices again,â€ a source said.
The Sergeant-At-Arms, Ahamed Kagoye, said they changed the locks to ensure that the commissionâ€™s property is not lost.
â€œThe MPsâ€™ office keys were in the hands of people like drivers and office assistants, so we were not sure of the safety of the property,â€ Kagoye said.
Of the 77 affected MPs, only four have so far vacated their offices. They are Silver Bahane (Bufumbira County North), Charles Ekemu (Soroti), Florence Nayiga (Kayunga) and Bwerere Kasole (Buwekula).
The Constitutional Court early this month ruled that it was illegal for independent MPs to stand for elections on any party ticket and also for party MPs to contest as independents without resigning first.
The ruling is contained in the judgement of a case filed by George Owor against the Attorney General and William Okecho, the NRM flag-bearer for West Budama North constituency.
The court ruled that any independent MP should have vacated their seat before being nominated to contest on the ticket of a political party.
Okecho and the Attorney General, however, petitioned the Supreme Court to stay the execution of the Constitutional Court ruling.
The Supreme Court agreed to suspend the execution of the ruling, but upheld that the MPs were illegally in Parliament.
Sources also said none of the MPs had paid back the money they were directed to refund since November last year when they were nominated by the Electoral Commission.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Ssekandi, has called on the 120 MPs who did not make it to the next Parliament to take heart and gain encouragement from the good work they did for their respective constituencies during the eighth Parliament.
In a February 24 letter to MPs, Ssekandi called on the members to execute their responsibilities to the end.
The next Parliament opens in May.
â€œAs we conclude our term in the eigth Parliament, I encourage you to take pride in the fact that you made history by serving honourably in this first multi-party Parliament in the last 25 years,â€ Ssekandi said.
â€œI thank you all for the spirit of team work you exhibited as we worked together over the last five years and I wish you the best in future,â€ he added.