Cabinet has approved the elderly (from age 60 onward) to have representation of five members in parliament after being sidelined senior stakeholders in the country for so long, the Minister for ICT and cabinet spokesperson Judith Nabakooba announced.
“Obukadde magezi,” the Minister added. Loosely translated, this phrase means, ‘with age comes great wisdom’. Involving the elderly will provide a leveled platform for discussion and also enhance good governance relaying on the bank of knowledge they bring to the table.
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics projects the number of older persons in 2020 at 1.6 million, a statistic that has been on the rise from 1,101,103 in 2002 and 1,430,000 in 2014.
“Article 32 of the constitution provides for the state to take affirmation in favor of marginalized groups. There is need for inclusive representation of older persons in key decision making positions at local and national level,” the minister added.
In their petition presented on 05 March 2020 by the National Council for Older Persons and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), the senior citizens said that they had been marginalized for so long. The petition was based on claims that older persons face numerous and unique challenges like, access to health facilities and economic challenges that need everyday attention.
Older persons’ representation is important according to Sylvia Ntambi, the Chair Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), because the elderly are a great population of the country and therefore need representation just like the workers, youth, people with disabilities among others.
Nabakooba said that older persons in Uganda contribute immensely to creation of wealth, support and care of families, yet their representation stops at the district. “This therefore creates a gap in information flow as older persons views, interests and opinions are not adequately represented in parliament,” she added.
The position in parliament is open to candidates that are 60 years and over as long as they are of sound mind.