As citizens, we have a noble role of promoting national interests within and outside the country, so that people are attracted to invest in it.
In our respective capacities we have platforms, both offline and online forms, which can be used for business and to promote trade between home country and other countries in the region, or elsewhere in the world.
Indeed, we can best use these platforms to serve our people and world for common good. There is no better strength to show than empowering ordinary citizens to reach their potential, anywhere in the world. An empowered citizen is potentially healthy, productive, affords to live a dignified life, participates constructively in development endeavours, and promotes good governance, he or she is capable of undertaking investments, and contributes to prosperity of the nation.
Participation of young people and youth in leadership is a succession strategy to build much-needed experience in leadership to take over the management and administration of the country one the aging leaders retire from public service or through natural deaths. Participants on local and international platforms on leadership, research, and innovations tend to have leadership skills to provide their respective countries with secure paths to sustainable development and peace.
For Uganda, the story is different. The youths are reduced into endless supporters of the withering crop of leaders and fight off fellow prospective youths from ever getting the opportunities to become top-level leaders. For example, nomination fee of 2 million is required from prospective youths to participate in elective politics, which majority of the unemployed and economically-struggling youth cannot have. This means that only the rich, who are often children of aging leaders, or children of parents with powerful businesses and strong association to the reigning leadership qualify for too-most position, if at all, they are not compromised to keep away from them. This encourages inequality, underachievement, and entrenchment of poverty in the country. The youth gets disassociated with events in the country and realigns to the outside world, which is willing to welcome and give them platforms for self-determination and emancipation.
The dejected youths use their networks to interest international actors in issues affecting development of countries of origin. Besides, they force their way out of the country, where they see no future, to foreign lands that replenish their hopes for a better future. These are areas you find necessary to invest in order to facilitate improvement of the business environment, allow free movement, and trade. For these to happen security is key, whether physical, human, environment or socioeconomic security. They all contribute to high consumption, increased demand, increased productivity and freedom to do business, which are indicators of prosperity. Therefore, your role and support for transformation of our political party and country is very crucial, timely and necessary.
Partnerships play a leading role in pooling resources and channeling them to effect a common development cause. It is meaningful and constructive to work together, especially in times of crisis and uncertainty, so that together partners can mobilise and conduct joint implementation exercises to meet set development targets and promote inclusive and sustainable governance systems. It is also relevant that any kind of support outside the usual sources can be found to strengthen progress and target greater achievements for a group or community of concern. Greater focus must be on building financial sustainability and technical capacity to address challenges to youth and country development, and correct political and economic injustices, collapse of the rule of law, disenfranchisement of 70 percent of the country’s youth, youth unemployment, and rampant poverty.
Luckily, there are development programmes that provide entry points for youths to develop their ideas into material benefits, such as periodical national elections, public service, commercial agriculture, ecotourism, and environment conservation. This increases involvement and participation of youths in avenues that transform their undesirable socioeconomic and political situation, which prevents uncertainties Ugandans have over our economy, politics and social life. Further, this helps to prevent violent protests, unnecessary killings and death, encourage growth of businesses, promote foreign investment, promote healthy relations between states, and boost economic growth of the country and region.
Until the levels of income inequality, poverty, and limited political power, the future remains uncertain in terms of inclusive and sustainable wellbeing. Forecast indicates a worse future than the present in terms limited influence in decisionmaking, entrenchment of corruption, shortage of social services, unemployment, failure of businesses, household poverty, poor healthcare, and poor quality infrastructure. On another hand, the country will feature widespread discontent, high crime levels, increasing threats to human security, characterised by deaths from preventable, socioeconomic tensions, and political instability.
In such an environment, production, investment and markets are limited, which lead to economic collapse. Statistics on poverty are not friendly at all. The number of Ugandans languishing in poverty is increasing annually. This is showed by increased number of people, who are poor from 19.7 percent in 2017 to between 21.4 to 25 percent in 2019. Experience shows that the poor at not breaking out of the poverty cycle, and dying of starvation and malnutrition led conditions.
The measure used to measure poverty is ability of Ugandans to sustain livelihood above $1 a day. However, this varies from one geographical place to another. In some places, a dollar a day sustains life more than elsewhere in the country. On average a minimum of $2 is required to cater for food. This means that the individual in that category is not able to afford medical treatment, to pay rent, provide for his or her family’s basic needs and secure his future with decent livelihood. In fact the chronic poverty levels are reasonably higher, up to 60 percent. In that regard, human security and investments are endangered.
The cities and urban centers face high incidences of crime more than ever before. The Uganda Police Report on Crime and Road Safety 2019 shows that crime reached 87.5 percent from 67.1 percent. It is a huge concern now that, as Ugandans leave their homes they are not sure of their safety to and from home. Their dreams are easily cut short by violent crime and sudden deaths it loss of valuable assets. In certain locations of Kampala, deaths happen on daily basis due to lawlessness.
The mostly poor youth risk joining criminal gangs to meet their unfulfilled goals, like acquiring property and living decent lives. The women and girls are most affected: they are raped, killed for ransom and trafficked into prostitution. We can help save our people from extremism through active involvement of government in solving socioeconomic challenges our youth face and expanding government-led investment to provide solutions tangible answers to unemployed youth. This comes handy with introduction of free vocational education for school leavers to encourage self-employment, encourage transparency during delivery of public services, and allow equal participation of Ugandans in development programmes run by government in selected regions of the country.
While outbreak of Covid19 taught the world to adopt inclusive development strategy and pro-people political agendas, experiences show different side of the coin; the pro-people agendas were temporarily set and implemented in the short-term, and manipulated in the mid-term, and long-term frames. This shows that no worse history and experience can teach human beings to take precautions and reform anti-social practices that render masses vulnerable to natural hazards and preventable risks. It is more so most challenging to manage crises without the youthful generations. The crises are most damaging without the active role of youths in governance.
Otherwise, it is most logical to have young people actively participate in development of their country and any positive change for future wellbeing. On the other hand, young people ought to demonstrate interest, capacity, and readiness to play leading roles in governance and development, by demonstrating capabilities in their current levels and statuses. This will contribute enormously to productivity of the youth population, security and peace in the country.
It is equally meaningful the deliberate government endeavour to involve youths in national development planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluations of activities for national transformation, prosperity and sustainable peace. And ensure that reports and proper accountability systems are place and transparent.
Stakeholders, including youths need to witness how well public officials perform for the general good if their country so that the great works of exceptional public servants are replicated once the new generation of public servants and leaders takeover management of the country.