On Friday August 12, 2016, Uganda joined the rest of the world to commemorate International Youth Day, The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) as a Party and the FDC Youth League , congratulates fellow patriotic Ugandans especially the Youth on this special day where we cerebrate our youthfulness.
As youth were cerebrating the Youth Day, Public universities in Uganda were on a sit down strike by non-teaching staff over government’s non-commitment to the promise of Increasing salaries and welfare of the non teaching staff something which drastically affects the students learning majority of whom are youth.
Uganda has a unique demographic construct which presents children and youth at 73% (approximately 20million Ugandans) making it the 2nd youngest country in the world.
As young leaders, we are concerned with the absence of a revised national youth policy which implies that the Government cannot provide the resources, services, information and institutional support that will allow the youth to realize our potential and contribution to political,economic,socio- cultural transformation.
It’s sad that up to now, cabinet has shelved the bill. this state of affairs leaves Government commitment to support youth as the bulk of the Ugandan citizenry highly questionable. in the 9th Parliament, the 5 Youth MPs, came up with a draft National Youth Policy which was meant to guide the youth fund but it hasn’t received the blessing of the executive.
This explains why Government interventions like the Ushs25bn youth venture capital fund and the Ushs256bn youth livelihood fund have failed to meaningfully solve the poverty and the 80% unemployment malaise the youth grapple with.
These Government interventions without a clear policy are like panadol and indeed handouts which don’t offer a lasting and sustainable solution as seen before. In fact these handouts are destructive and diversionary to the youth.
As mentioned in our 2016 FDC party manifesto, the FDC Party believes that the policies of the incumbent Government are perpetuating youth exclusion rather than inclusion.
We Must return honour to our young people, give them the opportunity to imagine and think big, big ideas and innovations. We believe youth are at the centre of Uganda’s socio- economic and political transformation agenda.
We believe in creating public -private partnerships to benefit the young unemployed people. We believe in creating new, descent and well paying jobs and promote economic freedom for the youth as a foundation for innovation.
We believe in quality education that prepares our youth to compete regionally and internationally by reviewing our education curriculum to train our youth rigorously. For instance dual university curriculum should be adopted to have both academic and technical competencies. In the case of Ugandan, technical education has received lip service.
Lastly, FDC believes in the wider value of sports in our youthful society including improving health, tourism and employment and boosting economy. We believe in investing in improving equipment, sports halls, modern pitches and provide incentives to development of skills and talents of our youth.
The Writer is the FDC National Youth League Vice Chairperson