By Steven Enatu
The Soroti city deputy speaker Francis Tumwebazi has recommended the demolition of the city council hall after failing to access it.
This follows the circumstance that arose on the 28th July 2021 during the council meeting where he could not access the premises because of its nature.
Tumwebazi a representative of person with disability in the city council and also the deputy speaker tried negotiating with the technical team that the meeting be shifted to Soroti Lukiko hall but no one seemed bothered of his situation to access the city hall. The meeting went on at the city hall found upstairs of the former Municipal offices now city without deputy speaker.
According to the Building Control Act 2013 and National Physical Accessibility Standards and Requirements, buildings should have the possibility for any person to reach a place, manoeuver within it, use a service, and participate in activities provided in a public place; with dignity, independence and safety on an equal basis with others.
This entails providing signage, gazzeted parking, ramps, handrails, squat toilets with grab bars and tactile markers to accommodate people with disability which for this case Soroti city council hall does not match.
According to Tumwebazi the generational structure is one floor with upstairs and no provision of a ramp to a council hall hence denying him his right. He recommended taking the meeting to Lukiko hall where he could easily access but his recommendations were not listened to.
Tumwebazi said that the council hall should be demolished as soon as possible so that a good one is built that accommodates all human beings regardless of their physical disability.
///////////////////////Tumwebazi on accessibility
“I had talked to the CAO Soroti district and the speaker there, they had accepted that we use the Lukiko hall since it’s within the jurisdiction of the city but I don’t know what happened within the technical people at the city council. I think they did not understand that there is a law that says every person must access a public premise” he said.
Section 26 of the Persons with Disability Act 2006 says that a building must be accessible to all PWDs. If the building or facility is not accessible because of design it is the responsibility of the provider to give an alternative method to make the building or facility accessible.
Hon. Jonathan Ebwalu the Member of Parliament Soroti city west proposed that even the offices of the City town clerk and Mayor be relocated down so that everyone can access. He also recommended the provision of the ramp if the council is the be equally access
“This council meeting was delayed because the technical people were negotiating with the deputy speaker that he accepts to be carried up here in the council which he subsequently denied, we need to create provision of a ramp here” he said.
Hon Juliet Agonyo the speaker Soroti City said next time they will conduct the meeting under the shade so that her deputy is not left out.
“We cannot break this building now to improvise a ramp, the building is already weak and this makes it very risky. Next time we shall decide to have meetings under a tent of a shade, it’s the speaker who decides where the council meeting may take place” she said.