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Cabinet approves Older Persons Bill

Ofwono Opondo: Uganda Media Centre Director while addressing media on Tuesday

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Cabinet has approved principles for drafting of the Older Persons Bill, 2019. The bill is meant to enhance protection and realization of older person’s rights.

Uganda Media Centre Director, Ofwono Opondo, addressing media on Tuesday said the bill will provide for promotion and protection the wellbeing, safety and security of older persons.

The bill will also combat abuse of older persons, provide for a rights-based approach to social protection programming of older persons and establish structure through which free and fair elections of representatives of older Persons councils can be conducted at all levels.

There has not been any law streamlining issues of older persons in Uganda. The National Council for Older Persons Act, 2013 is by far the most comprehensive legislation on older peoples’ affairs in Uganda.

The Act establishes a National Council Older Persons as a body corporate. The Council, among other matters, acts as a coordinating body between Government departments, other service providers and older persons; and acts as a platform for older persons and stakeholders to meet regularly. The Act further establishes lower level councils for older persons up to village level.

There is also the Uganda National Policy for Older Persons of 2009 which provides a framework for enhancing the recognition of the roles, contributions and potentials of older persons in the development process.

Opondo said the bill will handle all issues concerning older persons. But an ignored older persons’ demand the bill does not capture is representation in parliament. Older persons have been arguing that like other marginalised groups such as youth and disabled people, they deserve to be represented in parliament.

The bill, Opondo said will remove confusion surrounding Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) programme. Ministry of Gender last year said it is planning to raise the age for SAGE beneficiaries from the current 60 to 80 years beginning financial year 2019/2020.

According to the National Housing and Population Census of 2014, the population of older persons aged above 60yrs is 1.28 million people equivalent to 3.7 percent.

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