Rtd. Col. Steven Basaliza aka Omudumizi, the former Burahya Member of Parliament (MP), in Kabarole District, has revealed that come rain or sunshine, he has to contest for one of the five seats for the elderly that were recently created by Parliament.
It should be noted that the Parliament of Uganda recently created five new seats for representatives of elderly persons in Uganda, which will be filled in their forthcoming general election.
It is against this background that Basaliza, who is an experienced politician and former legislator, has vowed to claim one of these seats, such that he can patriotically serve his country once again, like he has always done in the past.
He says he got the inspiration to contest for the position after being requested by people of Rwenzori to represent them, which prompted to contest as representative for the elderly people in Western Uganda.
Basaliza, who is also a former Commissioner Uganda Human Rights Commission, is a highly qualified economist and teacher, who holds a Masters degree in Human Rights, a Bachelors degree in Management, a professional lawyer and above all, a retired senior officer of the mighty Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF).
He told this website that; “Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 says that ‘There is time for everything’. I have been watching issues unfolding and had excused myself from Elective positions, mainly basing on serving in other capacities other than politics. But I return to politics to create harmony and unity in the NRM Party, not to antagonize incumbents in those positions.”
He added that; “Now that cabinet approved Representation of the Elderly, and Parliament approved it, I therefore declare that I will be vying for the position of Member of Parliament for the Elderly to represent Western Uganda as requested by my good people.”
He also revealed that; “My back ground stems during UNLF /Fronasa, Uganda Patriotic Movement as founder member, NRA/NRM liberation struggle, although prior to that I was a professional teacher and later joined Parliament to represent Burahya County, Kabarole. But I voluntarily opted out of politics after consultation with H.E President and Commander in Chief.
During my days in the army, I attended the prestigious Kimaka Senior Command and Staff College in the 2nd intake after UPDF Generals like Elly Tumwine, Salim Saleh, Noble Mayombo, etc.
I was among the first contingent AMISOM Troops deployed to Somalia in 2007, under the Command of Gen. Levi Karuhanga, (RIP). After my tour of duty in Somalia I returned to Uganda and was appointed Chief of Pensions, Gratuity & Survivor Benefits in the UPDF.
One of my last assignments was documenting all Ex- service men ranging.
Currently I’m a farmer in fields of tea and coffee growing, although I’m also involved in dairy farming, which I do on a four acre model farm.
Parliament this week approved a bill providing for the inclusion of five representatives of older persons in the house. These will form part of the other marginalized groups that are currently represented in parliament.
Article 78 of the constitution provides for the composition of Parliament and it recognizes members directly elected to represent constituencies, one woman representative for every district, representatives of the army, youth, workers, and persons with disabilities.
During the plenary session chaired by the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga on Tuesday, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Ephraim Kamuntu tabled the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which provides for five representatives of older persons in parliament. It also seeks to operationalise Articles 32 (1) and 78 (1) of the Constitution and provide for the manner of election of representatives of older persons in parliament by Electoral College.
Immediately after the Bill’s first reading, Dokolo Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal took to the floor and moved a motion for the suspension of several Parliament Rules of Procedure that provide for a process of handling a Bill to enable them consider the piece of legislation immediately. Usually after a Bill’s first reading, it is sent to the responsible committee for scrutiny within a period of 45 days after, which a report is presented before parliament for debate and approval.
However, in her motion, Ogwal said that she was speaking on behalf of millions of people who have reached the age of 60 and there is no body to cater for them. She noted that it was important that the House isn’t polarized because of this.
Ogwal also said that Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) compel countries to leave no one behind in their democratic process and that due regard should be made for the representation of older persons through the enactment of a law to facilitate the Electoral Commission (EC) to organize for their election.
However, Wilfred Niwagaba, the Shadow Attorney General noted that the Speaker had earlier directed presentation of a Bill to amend the Constitution. He wondered whether the ruling had been vacated to allow for presentation of a Bill amending the Parliamentary Elections Act.
But Kadaga noted that the provision in the Parliamentary Elections Act is the same as that in the Constitution.
Ogwal’s motion to suspend various rules was then adopted and MPs proceeded to debate and consider the Bill. During the debate, majority of the MPs supported the government position.
After the debate, Parliament moved to approve clauses within the Bill and adopted the provision to have five representatives for older person, one of them being female.
The Bill also provides that the election of representatives of older persons in Parliament shall be divided into four regions namely; Northern Region, Eastern Region, Central Region and Western Region.
According to the Bill, the four regional electoral colleges shall each elect a Member of Parliament to represent the respective region and shall, after doing so, jointly elect the national woman representative for older persons.
“All members of a District Council for Older Persons within each region shall constitute an electoral college for the election of the representative of the older person in Parliament for that region. A person seeking to be elected as a representative of older persons in Parliament shall be aged at least sixty years and shall also be qualified to be a member of Parliament in terms of article 80 of the Constitution and section 4 of this Act,” reads the Bill in part.