Gender ministry to push for amendment of the Older Person’s Act

Gender ministry to push for amendment of the Older Person's Act
People from Karamojong tribe wait in line to vote at a polling station during elections in a village near the town of Kaabong in Karamoja region, Uganda February 18, 2016. Courtesy Photo/REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic - RTX27GXY

The Gender, Labor and Social Development Ministry is considering amending the Older Person’s Act to allow the elderly people’s councils to conduct by-elections other than relying on the Electoral Commission (EC).

The Older Person’s Act mandates Electoral Commission to conduct elections for elder’s councils at all levels. James Ebitu, the Director of Social Protection in the Gender Ministry, argues that the elder’s councils stretch from grass root to national level and as candidates progress to other levels, they live gaps that need to be filled but Electoral Commission doesn’t have resources to conduct elections immediately.

He says as a result, they want the Older Person’s Act amended to allow the elder’s councils to conduct elections at any time to allow for the proper flow of information among the older persons as it is with other special groups in the ministry.

He says in the absence of elderly councils at some levels, the Ministry hopes to implement its’ programs like Social Assistance Grant to the Elderly (SAGE) through religious and cultural leaders.

However, Fridah Kalimo, a Reverend from Mbulamuti Church of Uganda stresses that there is a communication gap between the Gender Ministry and Church leaders who are expected to mobilize the older persons for government programs like SAGE.

“As church leaders, we communicate with older persons closely, but we lack clear information about the ministry’s programs like SAGE and at times the elderly inquire from us but we are not informed,” Kalimo says.