Cabinet has approved five new parliamentary seats for the elderly persons and the proposal is awaiting Parliament approval. The creation of these seats adds to several dozens of the already approved and or pending parliamentary seats following the creation of new cities and constituencies.
This will expand the size of Parliament from the current 445 elective MPs to 514, which is 69 extra MPs with the attendant financial implication on the Consolidated Fund. The creation of these seats is unreasonable and the arguments justifying the representation of the elderly in Parliament are even more disturbing.
The claims that the elderly have not been adequately catered for by the current and previous parliaments or that the older people will bring to Parliament a wealth of knowledge to guide the legislators are laughable.
First, there is no evidence to suggest that at the district council where the elderly are represented, there has been impact on their welfare to support the claim that if their representation is elevated to Parliament, there would be further improvement. Representation of the elderly in Parliament becomes even more redundant given the current representation in the National Assembly.
There is a Constituency MP, who represents all the electorate in their respective area. The youth are represented in Parliament by Youth MPs (both male and female), women are represented by District Woman MPs and so are the disabled, workers, etc. With the addition of the elderly MPs, all the segments of the electorate will virtually be represented in Parliament.
So does the country still need Constituency MPs? Whom will they still represent since the youth, disabled, elderly, workers, women in their constituencies already have their own MPs? They literary represent nobody.
Besides, does this mean Parliament has failed to address or articulate problems of the elderly in their constituencies and only the five proposed MPs will address interests of the older people? Should we also have doctors, teachers, taxi drivers, boda bodas riders, traders, vendors, religions, etc, get own MPs in order to have their voices heard?
This country’s challenges are not shortage of political representation, but social services. Let’s focus on social services which will help all people including the elderly, instead of looking at five individuals going to parliament to merely receive salaries and other benefits at the taxpayers’ cost under false pretence that they are pursuing interests of the elderly.
The elderly need functioning hospitals with medical personnel and drugs to receive good healthcare. They need timely payment of their pension, clean water, electricity, and good roads to access health centres, among others. They don’t need political agents in Parliament.
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