By Stephen Wandera firstname.lastname@example.org
KAMPALA. National youth elections are tradeoff for ballots that needs to be reviewed as a means strengthening democracy. According to Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) research report, more than ninety percent of the youth believe their polls are fraudulent.
“Only 7 percent of the youth we interviewed believed that youth elections are corruption free. The majority believe the elections are characterized with corruption and intimidation. Candidates have to transport voters to the venue and hide them. They only appear during polling,” lead researcher Dr Daniel Ruhweza said.
If they vote for you well, you sail through but if they do not vote well, the candidate can abandon voters, said Dr Luhweza at a youth workshop in Kampala Monday July 30th, 2018. Adding, “Voters are handed brown envelope on entrance to the polling venue. If we do not wake up and do something, we would have lost the meaning of election.”
The workshop is the climax of the one year youth voice project that has reached out to more than 2 million youth. Meeting on the theme: ‘awakening sleeping giant’, a case for the amendment of the 1993 national youth council act, the youth called for term limits for Members of Parliament.
“The youth want term limits for legislators to give them chance to contest. They also called for more seats in parliament other than the current six slots. There are some MPs who have been in parliament for over 30 years,” added.
Mr Nobert Mao, the president, Democratic Party however advised the youth to stop agitating for more seats but instead use their voice to take advantage of the existing opportunities.
“Why do think we have corrupt people in government, someone is reaching retirement and realizes he has nothing. So the fellow has to steal money to complete the house in the village among other things,” he said. Adding, “The current national youth council is a conveyor belt to control the youth but not empowering them. When I was a Guide President at Makerere University, I led a strike against the World Bank’s rural adjustment programme that was being imposed on us. But now days when there is a strike, shopkeepers close their stalls, because students steal merchandise.”
Mr Mao further explained, “Youth stop being concerned be committed.”
More than 70 percent of Uganda’s population are youth but are represented by six members of parliament.
Mr Felix Kayihura, the vice chairperson, National Youth Council warned that government failure to fund youth is doomed. “How do you invest Shs800 billion in youth elections and yet their annual budget activities is not even Shs2 billion?” he noted.