Cabinet approves representation of the Elderly in Parliament
Cabinet sitting on Monday 6th July 2020 approved the elderly, as a special interest group to have five (5) Parliamentary representatives.
Addressing the media on Tuesday 7th July 2020, the Minister for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Judith Nabakooba, who also doubles as the cabinet spokesperson revealed that Cabinet, revealed that the move was intended to give the elderly a voice in Parliament.
“There have been calls from many groups requesting the government to create seats for the elderly in Parliament so that their views can be heard. Cabinet has approved the five seats,” she said.
Nabakoba observed that according to a 2014 National Housing and Population report the population growth of the older persons had increased to 1,430,000 from 1,101,103 in 2002. She added that the Uganda Bureau of statistics had projected the growth in the number of older persons in 2020 to 1.6 million in 2020.
The Minister deduced that going by the projections of the Uganda Bureau of statistics; it presents a far-reaching implication on the demand and access to specialized social economic services for older persons.
“This, therefore, creates a gap in information flow as older persons’ views, interests and opinions are not adequately represented in Parliament unlike other special interest groups,” she added.
Nabakoba revealed that the elderly persons in March 2020 petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, seeking representation in Parliament. The elder persons though the National Council for Older Persons and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), told Parliament that the senior citizens had been sidelined for long.
Citing the Constitution, the Minister noted that Article 32 of the constitution provides that the state will take affirmative action in favour of groups marginalized based on gender, age, disability or any other reason created by history tradition or custom to redress imbalances which exist against them.
To further justify the decision by Cabinet, Nabakoba observed that the Government in 2009 adopted the National policy for older persons to provide a framework to guide policy and programming of interventions to improve the quality of life of older persons.
Currently, the 10th Parliament comprises of 459 MPS; with 296 constituency representatives, 122 district women representatives, 10 UPDF representatives, 5 Workers representatives, 5 representatives of PWDs and 16 Ex-officio Members
The Cabinet resolution now moves to Parliament and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is expected to present the motion in Parliament, which should be able to spell out details about the process to create the five seats.
The Prospective candidates for the Parliamentary seats for the elderly must be 60 years and above and must have the minimum qualifications of a Member of Parliament.