By Robert Tumwesigye
Youth are the most organised and well represented people at all levels represented by charismatic and dynamic vibrant fellow youth. Youth councils start from the village to the national level with a committee of nine members elected by youth only at every level.
There is the Village Youth Committee, the Parish Youth Committee, the Subcounty Youth Committee, the District Youth Committee and the National Youth Executive Committee which forms the National Youth Council (NYC).
Activities of the NYC are implemented by the Secretariat which is headed by the Executive Secretary who works with the staff. Youth are well represented in Parliament with five MPs from four regions and one National Female Youth MP.
Western Region is represented by Hon. Edson Rugumayo, Central Region Hon. Agnes Kirabo, Eastern Region Hon. Benard Odoi, Northern Region Hon. Boniface Henry Okoth and Hon. Phiona Nyamutooro Female National Youth MP.
The Chairperson of National Youth Council is Jacob Eyera who chairs National Youth Council.
NYC executive Committee is composed of twelve members; Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, General Secretary, Publicity Secretary, Secretary for Female Youth Affairs, Secretary for Students Affairs, Secretary for Labor Affairs, Secretary for Sports and Culture, Secretary for External Relations, Secretary for Legal Affairs and the Secretary for Finance. There is a Ministry of Youth in charge of Youth Affairs.
The Council was established under the NYC Act 1993 which guides it’s operations. Under section 5 (1) of NYC Act Amendment 2003, it was revised to have the following members in the Council meeting; National Youth Executive Committee, Chairperson of every District Youth Council in Uganda, the Secretary for Female Youth Affairs at the district Youth Council, the Secretary for Finance at the district, Eight NGOs representatives involved in Youth activities, a
Representative of Youth Persons with Disabilities, Four Student Representatives selected by Uganda Students Association, Executive Secretary of NYC Secretariat and Five MPS representing the youth in the Parliament.
Covid-19 pandemic challenges did not leave out the two youth district councillors who spent their last coin in campaigns expecting to get more in the District Youth Council. The two District youth councilors spend more money than other Youth representatives apart from members of parliament some of which campaign in more than forty districts.
District Youth Councillors who are two (Male and Female) , are elected by all members of Parish Youth Council Committees in the whole district composed of nine youth. Each Councillor mobilises votes from all parishes in the district and some districts are still big with poor road network.
To create a competitive advantage, in some districts candidates provide transport to youth to go for voting at the district and some parishes are so many miles away from district headquarters where most elections take place.
Candidates feed the youth and give them more facilitation to give them morale and high motivation.
Some Youth district councillor candidates who don’t have heavy weight Political God Fathers, end up selling their properties during campaigns. District Councillors Youth elections are the most competitive and winning is by sheer luck.
Apart from the vigorous parish Committees exercise, they have to work on the electoral college team which is highly demanding.
The two district Councillors are elected by the electoral college of youth Committees composed; members of District /City youth executive Committee, members of Subcounty/Town Council/Municipal Division youth executive Committee, members of Parish/Ward Youth executive Committee, one youth representing Youth with Disabilities and two student delegates.
The District Youth Executive Committee is elected the electoral college at the district by three members from Subcounty Youth executive Committee.
District Councillors face big challenges meeting youth in their respective villages. Some youth are without phones while some villages are not easy to access.
Some pay for lodging on campaign trails.
Others climb hills and cross death valleys looking for votes. In some districts, youth candidates fear to move during the day in fear of abduction in the campaign time. They opt to move at night and in thick bushes or swamps to avoid high risks.
The exercise is so tedious in some districts to an extent most candidates pull out from the race.
After all this campaign work and expenses involved, youth councillors expectations are not realised.
Though they are the most close to the district youth on grassroot, they are left out during most national and international youth events.
Youth Councillors get less from their sweat as most of them are still students or fresh graduates.
All National and International Youth activities are only and always attended by only three District Youth Representatives who are also members National Youth Council. These are the Chairperson District Youth Council, the Secretary for Finance and Secretary of Female Youth.
District Youth Councillors seeing how their colleagues are getting big cash from national events and activities, have decried and are seeking for a way how they can access His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, their loved president to torch into their agony and suffering. May be he could provide a parental solution. They think.
District Councillors are citing loopholes in the law which only provides for few members. They want the youth to participate during big events like International Youth Day celebrations and others to keep them on board smiling with others.
Big wigs in NRM are amassing wealth. The young people who work like donkeys when it is period for elections continue to be sidelined in most activities. This has annoyed district youth Councillors.
They feel left out yet they are bonded to the common youth than anybody.
The Research Desk will reach out to the Chairperson NYC, Executive Secretary, members of Parliament and the Ministry for the Youth Affairs to find more on aggreviencies raised by District Youth Councillors and possible solutions to keep the youth happy, vibrant, dynamic and focusing while making a big contribution to the social, economic and political development of Uganda.
Kigezi Research Desk.
+256 772509393/+256 700520339
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