Cabinet has approved the elderly, as a special interest group to have five (5) Parliamentary representatives, the Nile Post has learnt.
This was revealed by the Minister for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Judith Nabakooba, who also doubles as the cabinet spokesperson.
In a statement accessed by Nile Post, the 5 slots according to Nabakooba, will help to strengthen inclusive representation of all special interest groups in Parliament.
The Equal Opportunities Act of 2007 provides for equal rights of all vulnerable groups, including older persons and according to Nabakooba, the review of the representation of older persons in Parliament as a special interest group is aimed at protecting the rights of older persons in accordance with this act.
She said, “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.
Until now, Parliament has representations of four special interests that include the army, youth, workers and people living with disabilities.
A 2014 National Housing and Population report showed that older persons had increased to 1,430,000 from 1,101,103 in 2002 and the Uganda Bureau of statistics further projects the number of older persons in 2020 at 1.6 million.
Nabakooba said that this population increase therefore presents far reaching implications on the demand and access to specialised social economic services for older persons.
She said that inspite of government’s commitment to addressing the needs and concerns of older persons, there is still need to have a streamlined structure from village to parliament to enhance participation of older persons in decision making,”
Nabakooba said that older persons in Uganda contribute immensely to the creation of wealth, support and care of families yet their representation stops at the district and there is no 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,” Nabakooba added.