Sunday, Jul 25th

Last update12:50:36 PM

You are here: Home SPECIAL REPORT Interview As Uganda turns 50, political youth leaders express hope and hopelessness

As Uganda turns 50, political youth leaders express hope and hopelessness

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Inter-Party Youth Platform organised a symposium October 3 in Kampala in which political party youth leaders reflected on the five decades of Uganda’s independence and highlighted their fears and expectations.

The Inter-Party Youth Platform is an arrangement that brings together seven major political parties in the country, including the Conservative Party, Democratic Party, Forum for Democratic Change, Justice Forum, National Resistance Movement, Peoples Progressive Party and Uganda Peoples Congress.

Leading political figure OMAR KALINGE-NNYAGO recorded what the young leaders said.

Edris Mpagi – Conservative Party

We gather here in unison to treasure the memories of the past, to celebrate the joys of today and to look forward to the hopes of the future.

 More than fifty years ago brave young men and women of this great republic embarked on what seemed to be a very hard task. With purity of justice and with unquestionable dedication they demanded for the independence of their motherland. They did so with great zeal and selflessness.

On the ninth day of October 1962, they woke up in happiness and pride. They had finally broken the chains of colonial bondage. They had attained liberty. The Union Jack was lowered. They sang their newly composed anthem and laid the future of this country in the hands of God. They vowed to stand United, Free and for Liberty

 Ladies and Gentlemen! It is therefore very clear that this country owes its independence to youth. If it was not for the critical sacrifices made by the young people then, no one knows how and when Uganda would have been freed from colonialism.

 It is this history that energises us the most. We know that if our forbearers were able to do it, we too can do it. This is why we are here this afternoon. We are here to assure you that the struggle to build this great nation is still ongoing. And to let you know that as young people we are ready to lead it.        


Elvis Kintu – Democratic Party  

Ladies and gentlemen!

As the country’s youth, we look back at 50 years of independence with mixed reactions.

Some of us sometimes think that independence was a mere changing of the guard. That we probably only moved away from white dominance to elite black mastership. Of course there are others who say that it has been 50 years of great achievement and national revival.

There are also those of us who believe that the country has been moving one step forward and two steps back. Each glimmer of hope has been always followed by a spate of disillusionment.

But amidst the jubilations, fifty years ago, the youth then must have known, deep down in their hearts, that they had plunged into an ocean of political uncertainty. It is obvious that while there were many young people of substance, there had not been enough institutional and personal preparation by them to assume the positions of leadership.

The colonial education system was established to create a well educated but tragically dependent elite class, which viewed the colonial masters’ ways with much awe and admiration. They were rarely able to suggest bold alternatives for their own sorry situation.

The ruling elite, for example, spoke good English, but did not learn to manufacture even the basic equipment for agriculture. They were told to “read hard and get a good job” but were never told to create their own employment. There was a mad rush at the so-called white collar jobs, for they were considered superior.

Agriculture which is the backbone of this nation was neglected. Indeed, that is when the real seeds of poverty were sown in our motherland. Technical schools were despised and underfunded. The country whose 50 years of independence we celebrate does not have the critical mass of artisans and technicians to turn Uganda’s economy around.


Ayo Innocent – Forum for Democratic Change

Our distinguished guests!

Are we spoiling the mood of this celebration? No we are not. We are only being frank to ourselves. We see that there is less to celebrate as a nation full of young people. 78 percent of Uganda’s population is below the age of 35. This shows that we are a clear majority. It is also an indication that we should be the biggest stakeholders in the affairs of this country.

But on the contrary, what do we have? Problems, challenges and limitations are all that the youth have to show after 50 years of independence. As we gather here today, youth unemployment in Uganda has been growing at an alarming rate. In 1997 it was 42 percent, in 2003 it was 58 percent, in 2006 it was 65 percent, and today, in 2012 it is estimated to be 83 percent.

If the events are to continue at this rate, probably 100 percent of the youth are likely to be unemployed by the year 2016.


We can therefore say that the so-called common good has not been felt by us – the majority of the youth. Many young people are struggling to have a decent employment. There are those who are struggling to learn to create their own jobs. There are many young people with great entrepreneurship ideas but which cannot be translated into reality because they don’t have access to capital. As we stand here to celebrate our golden jubilee, few can deny that corruption has engulfed our nation.

Therefore ladies and gentlemen, we would like to use this golden jubilee to recommit ourselves to nation building. By doing so, we are only following in the footsteps of the youth before us. We are looking forward to a better another 50 years ahead. The past is gone and cannot be reversed. But it would be a great mistake if we repeated any of the mistakes of yesterday.

It is a fact that the youth of Uganda have been at the forefront of political change since pre-colonial times. They have remained vibrant to date. We shall not burry  our heads in the proverbial sand with the false hope that one day our ship will somehow survive all the storms by good luck or even a chanceful event. We know that we have to do something. We appeal to our fellow youth to act and to do so now.


Shaban Kalema – Justice Forum (Jeema)

Ladies and Gentlemen!

 I would like to assure you that yes we can. In the face of several challenges holding this nation the youth will again have to offer the solution. And this will be no miracle. As it happened more than 50 years ago during colonial rule, so it shall be today.

For this reason ladies and gentlemen, we commit to rise above fault-finding and take full responsibility for taking Uganda forward.  We want to work for our political parties to promote selfless leadership in the management of public affairs. We stand for good affordable healthcare, for quality education, and for modern infrastructure.

We shall aggressively agitate for and contribute to the expansion of economic opportunities and promote well-paying jobs and good returns for labor in agriculture, industry and the service sector.

We hereby declare our commitment to agitate for and contribute to the building of a truly independent Uganda. This Uganda must be democratic, it must be free, it must be just, it must be peaceful, it must be secure and it must be a prosperous nation. All citizens must have equal opportunities and equitable access to the country's resources. That is the Uganda we want.

That is the Uganda we shall struggle to deliver in the next 50 years. And, let me assure you ladies and gentlemen, you can count on us. Remember the youth before us did it, we too shall do it.

We are fully aware that this is going to be no easy journey. It shall require our sacrifice, it will demand our commitment, it will consume our energies – but we are committed to doing it. Again we always ask the question, if it was possible then, why not now.

It is this common vision that brings us together in the framework of the Inter-Party Youth Platform. We know that we have differences: as men and women, we come from different ethnicities, we belong to different political parties – and carry divergent ideologies. But two special things bring us together.

The first is that we are all Ugandans; the second is that we are youth. On that premise we are committed to working together in making this country better.


Namara Denis – National Resistance Movement

Comrades, I would like to emphasise that unlike the youth who struggled against the highly repressive colonial and post colonial regimes over the last 50 years, our challenges today are very different. And our fortunes are also quite clear.

It can be stated with utmost confidence that there is no better point in time in Uganda’s history than now for the young people to contribute to this nation. Now is the time for the youth to lead the process of political, social, and economic transformation.

With the increased guarantee to security of public and private property and with the increased investment in provision of electricity and better roads and housing infrastructure, we shall seek to exploit the ever growing regional markets to get maximum benefits from our products.

We shall tap the prevailing easy access to information and communication technologies to conduct profitable businesses. We shall seek to benefit from the mushrooming banking and education institutions, and democratic institutions.

We are fully aware that this demands of us to become more productive. Those of us in this room know that we are leaders. As leaders we have a duty to inform our fellow youth to become productive. We can be politically active but remain productive.

We should commit to moving away from complaining about what governments did not provide or what they have not provided. Today we ask the question: what shall we do? How shall we make our situation better? How shall we make Uganda better?

We have to promote an approach that entrenches a culture of political competition with tolerance. By this we have to speak about political maturity and informed debate. Yes we may be young but politically we are mature – and that is what we are, that is how we would like to be viewed, and that is how we would like to be engaged.

We know that this is the time for ideologically mature, clear, consistent and well-organised youth to drive this country forward. This opportunity must be seized. We challenge ourselves and all the young people not to wait for tomorrow.


Jean Ngoobi – Peoples Progressive Party

A lot has been said already – but it all comes down to one thing. As the youth we wish to focus on ourselves to prepare for the leadership challenges ahead. Here we shall need your cooperation. I am referring to you, the senior party leaders of our time, and the development partners.

We are of the considered view that Uganda’s political class has been for the most part self-made. There has been no deliberate effort to develop it. We are concerned that there is not enough civic education, but more importantly, leadership training that goes on in all the political parties.

We worry that we may reach a point when we are overwhelmed by the task of nation building in a global democracy that has evolved over the years. We appeal to our political parties to have leadership development as a key component of their programmes.

There are obviously key issues that are very important and extremely urgent. These issues have to be attended to immediately.  I am talking about human rights and democratisation. We need to ensure that every Ugandan, especially the youth is sufficiently educated on human rights, on citizen responsibilities and on democratic values. 

There is a clear link between democracy, human rights and development. There cannot be democracy without human rights. And there can not be sustainable development without democracy. Well, you may say that this is academic – but I want to assure you that it is a matter of fact. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, it is clear that we need to rethink the question of leadership in this country and build institutions for sustainable political development.

Therefore, starting now we demand for free and fair elections. We demand for accountable public institutions. We demand an immediate end to corruption.  There is probably no one in this room who needs to be educated about the toll corruption has taken on this nation. How can we celebrate 50 years of self governance with this evil on our hands? The time is now for Uganda to move away from the talk against corruption to start the walk in curbing corruption


Rukundo Emmanuel – Uganda Peoples Congress

I suppose many of you may already be asking: who are these young people? Who gives them the mandate to make all these demands? And how sure can we trust that their promises will be fulfilled?

Well I am glad to answer you. We are Ugandans. We are members of political parties, we are youth,  we are committed to impact on the destiny of this country for the better. I stand here to assure you that you can count on us, you can rely on us, and you can trust us.

We are aware that the things we demand may not be achieved overnight. But with determination, no journey is too long to be covered. We will get there sooner than later. But for that to happen, we need the right attitude.

We need to move away from denying the challenges this country is facing. We must recognise the relevance of every actor in the development process: the government, the political parties, the development partners, the men, the women, the youth, the children – name it all.

We have to pay attention to what they have to say and we have to act in their interests. This is another demand we make to you senior leaders of our time. You can no longer prescribe the cure and expect the youth to just take in – we know the solutions by ourselves. We demand to be listened to, we demand a stronger involvement.

And let me reiterate that something has to be done to end poverty and unemployment. We are craving for the opportunity to become productive Ugandans who are at the same time politically active. The idea of a politically active unemployed youth is a scary one, and peace and security cannot be guaranteed with an increasingly radicalized unemployed youth population as Uganda is witnessing today. There must be causes for the present unrest amongst the youth. Ugandan youth must be steered towards productive enterprise.

As a Jewish saying goes, “A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shades they will never sit.” We believe that it is the responsibility of all of you, honourable experienced leaders present here today and those that are not, to mentor and groom young people to take on leadership in their early life on firm ground.

In conclusion, we thank you all for your kind attention as we eagerly await your wise comments on the issues we have touched. We wish to thank the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung for the support to hold this most strategic event for the politically active youth of Uganda from the seven political parties who form the Inter Party Youth Platform. 

Happy birthday Uganda. Long Live the Pearl of Africa. United we stand.

For God and My Country. 



0 #1 Wabsir Fredrick 2012-12-11 09:50
Well i have read through all the threads above. And must say that the WILL is ripe... the youths are ready.. and strongly believe that the change is within..

I now take this chance to ask for all updates on meetings and discussion arrangements on the inter party youth project......

Tel: +256781304532

Kind Regards
0 #2 Ruthie 2015-02-14 12:39
Wow, this post is fastidious, my younger sister is analyzing such things, therefore
I am going to tell her.

my homepage; Check out Backyard Garden Spot regarding gardening suggestions
in addition to suggestions.:
0 #3 Wendell 2015-05-27 04:38
I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site.
I really hope to check out the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well.
In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal site now

Also visit my web page -
0 #4 Cliffbub 2018-11-10 09:28
Joe Bonamassa is an acclaimed nation vocalist, so don't miss the likelihood to visit Joe Bonamassa 2018 tour schedule
0 #5 Showfar 2018-12-18 00:44
Looking for the best app to watch free movies on your Android phone? Then your should check Showbox APK. This is the most famous app today that has a big library of tv shows and movies. This app is also available for computer users. But your need to download it first to enjoy free films Showbox Website