The representatives will be elected by the Elders’ Council constituting all the districts in a particular region.
Parliament on Tuesday confirmed that they have agreed to create up to five legislative seats to be occupied by the elderly persons with one of them ring-fenced for women.
According to the Parliamentarians, every region across the country including the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western regions will have a single representative respectively.
The representatives will be elected by the Elders’ Council constituting all the districts in a particular region, while the National Female MP for the elderly will be elected by the National Elders’ Council constituting delegates from all the regions.
This comes after the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ephraim Kamuntu, tabled the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill 2020, which proposed the legal regime for the creation of the seats for the elderly.
The introduction of the Bill was by way of motion without notice, which necessitated the suspension of Rules 24, 128, 129(2) and (5), 210 and 133(4) of the Rules of Procedure to avoid taking the ordinarily longer process involving the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
According to the Dokolo district legislator, Cecilia Ogwal, many elderly deep down in the villages are suffering quietly and the idea to have a legal team that represents them was inevitable.
“The elderly are suffering quietly; we need a legal instrument to support the elderly so that the Government can address their concerns,” Ogwal said.
She, however, begged Parliament to move a motion for a resolution to suspend many rules for the bill to be processed.
“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, who was unanimously supported.
Others including the shadow Attorney-General, Wilfred Niwagaba, suggested the introduction of a Constitution Amendment Bill instead, claiming that other special interest groups are a creation of the Constitution.
Kasilo County Legislator, Elijah Okupa questioned of what importance the seats are to the country yet the elderly already constitute the three Arms of Government.
“The elderly are the most represented in Government; the head of the executive is above 60; so is it procedurally right to say that the elderly are not represented yet they are the ones who lead the three arms of Government?” Okupa questioned.
The Kampala Central Legislator, Muhammad Nsereko who looked unconvinced about the decision said that Parliament is setting a precedent by having every group of people represented and yet it does not have the necessary capacity to constitute all these groups.
“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,” he said.