Tuesday September 2 2014

No votes for NRM come 2016 elections- Acholi elders

Cadres walk past a poster announcing Mr Museveni’s sole

Cadres walk past a poster announcing Mr Museveni’s sole presidential candidature for the NRM at the entrance of Nakivubo Blue Primary School where Mr Museveni presided over passing out of party carders yesterday. Photo by stephen wandera 

By Julius Ocungi & Cissy Makumbi

Elderly persons in Acholi Sub-region, have tasked NRM government to put into practice the constitutional Amendment of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda Article 32 which provides that the State shall make reasonable provisions for the welfare and maintenance of elderly persons, or else, they will miss-out on their votes.

Their concerns come after several attempts by the elderly persons in the region to receive their monthly Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) of elderly persons, failed despite elderly persons in other regions benefiting from the government’s grant.

SAGE was launched in 2011 with the objective of expanding social protections to vulnerable elderly persons. It is currently supporting 104,000 older persons above 65 years in 14 pilot districts.

Under the SAGE initiative, elderly persons in the selected pilot districts are supposed to earn Shs 29,000 every month. However, the elderly persons in Acholi Sub Region are yet to benefit.

Mzee Okwonga Latigo, Chairperson Acholi Elderly Persons Associations told Daily Monitor that they are thinking otherwise in supporting NRM government come 2016.

“The elderly persons in the region are not ready to vote for the NRM Government come 2016 general elections unless their privileges and demands are met. We have been deprived of our constitutional rights as elderly persons despite our several outcries to the government,” he said.

According to him, since the government launched SAGE, elders in the region have never had access to the grant, meant to transform the lives of the vulnerable elderly persons who have no direct source of
earning incomes.

“As elderly persons in the region, we cast doubts on the future of the programme that has lost its truck on the intended beneficiaries. No vote is credible for the NRM party, that has failed to demonstrate commitments to the elderly people in the country,” he said.

State Minister for Elderly and Disability Suleiman Madada, however said Acholi sub region ,at the onset of the SAGE whose pilot Programme is slated to end in February 2015, the region was still under insecurity and assessment could not be carried out at that time.

“The prevailing peace in the region is a clear manifestation that soon we shall get there. The locals should also know that this is a pilot project,” said Mr Madada.

Similarly, in July this year, a group of elderly persons from Nebbi district under their body, National Network for Older persons of Uganda (NNOPU) petitioned parliament demanding explanation from the government over SAGE programme that never benefited them.