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Why Gov’t Has Created 5 MP Positions For The Elderly

Judith Nabakooba, the Minister ICT & National Guidance

In an effort aimed at strengthening inclusive representation of all special interest groups in parliament, Cabinet has  approved  the elderly   to   have   five   (5)   parliamentary   representatives   to effectively represent their views across the country.

According to a 2014 National Housing and Population report, the population   of   older   persons   increased   to   1,430,000   from 1,101,103  in  2002.  The  Uganda  Bureau  of  statistics  further projects number of older persons in 2020 at 1.6 million.

In a statement dated July7, 2020, Judith Nabakooba, the Minister ICT & National Guidance said that “This  population  increase  therefore  has  far  reaching  implications on the demand and access to specialized social economic services for  older  persons.”

 In  spite  of  government’s  commitment  to addressing the needs and concerns of older persons, the Minister said  there is still need to have a streamlined structure from village to parliament to enhance participation of older persons in decision making.

“It  is  therefore  important  to  note,  that  older  persons  in  Uganda contribute immensely to the creation of wealth, support and care of  families,  creation  of  social  cohesion  and  conflict  resolution  in their communities,” she said.

Nabakooba added that Government adopted the National policy for older persons in 2009 to  provide  a  framework  to  guide  policy  and  programming  of interventions  to  improve  the  quality  of  life  of  older  persons. 

“The policy  was  formulated  within  the  framework  of  old  age  specific international instruments for promotion of human rights. These  include  the  Madrid  plan  of  action  on  Aging  (2002).  The African  union  charter  on  the  rights  if  older  persons  and  the sustainable Development goals among others. Article  32  of  the  constitution  provides  that  the  state  will  take affirmative action in favour of groups marginalized on the basis of gender,  age,  disability  or  any  other  reason  created  by  history tradition  or  custom  for  the  purpose  of  redressing  imbalances which exist against them,” she said.

In addition, she added, the implementation of the policy was re-enforced by the enactment of the National council for older persons Act, 2013 for effective advocacy, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of service delivery and representation of older persons.

“This  notwithstanding  the  representation  stops  at  the  district  and there  is  no  direct  linkage  between  the  older  persons  council structure   and   parliament.   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,” the Minister said.

At  the  moment  parliament  has  representation  of  four  special interest  groups  including  the  people  with  disabilities,  the Youth, workers and army.

“The  Equal Opportunities  Act  2007  provides  for  equal  rights  of all  vulnerable  groups  including  older  persons  and  therefore,  the review  of  representation  for  older  persons  in  parliament  as  a Special  Interest  Group is  aimed  at  protecting  the  rights  of  older persons in accordance with this act,” Nabakooba said.

She added: “It  would  therefore  be  proper  to  have  the  elderly  who  in  this bracket  are  60  years of  age and  above  have  representation  to provide  a  leveled  platform  for  discussion  of needs  and  concerns of  older  persons.  And also  enhance  good  governance  through inclusive representation of all special interest groups.”

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