Parliament approves creation of five seats for the elderly
The Parliament has created five Parliamentary seats for elderly persons, of which one of the seats has been preserved for women as affirmative action.
In a Plenary sitting on Tuesday 4th August 2020 chaired by Rebecca Kadaga, the August House passed the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill 2020 tabled the Hon Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs creating the five seats for the elderly persons in Parliament.
Immediately after the Minister of Justice had presented the Bill for the first reading, Cecilia Ogwal moved a motion to allow Parliament suspend a number of Parliamentary Rules of Procedure to allow Parliament consider the bill without going through the committee stage.
Among the rules suspended by Parliament as proposed by Ogwal included Rules 24, 128, 129(2) and (5), 210 and 133(4) of the Rules of Procedure. This move saw Parliament pass the Bill in one sitting.
“I beg to move a motion for a resolution of Parliament to suspend a number of rules for the Bill to be processed,” said Ogwal.
The Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Niwagaba was, however, concerned that the Speaker had previously ruled that the creation of 5 seats for the elderly at Parliament required a separate Bill and not a motion.
Cecilia Ogwal in support of the Bill told the MPs that the elderly have for long suffered and there is no one to voice their concern. She noted that the Bill and was long overdue to save the elderly from the suffering.
Nsereko Muhamed, however, cautioned Parliament against creating seats for special interest groups as it would create a wrong precedent. He noted the elderly are the most represented persons in the current government citing the heads of the executive, Judiciary and Legislature.
“As we open the pandora box, we must be prepared to walk the talk; are we going to start discussing the issue of representation of the diaspora? We have already set a precedent,” said Nsereko.
The Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill 2020 further requires that every region including Central, Eastern, Northern and Western to have one representative. The representative is to be elected by the Elders’ Council constituting all the districts in a particular region.