Justice Forum (JEEMA) President Asuman Basalirwa slammed Ugandan youths for failing to demand for Political Space yet they make the biggest segment of Uganda’s voting population.
Basalirwa was Thursday speaking at the Draft Presentation of the Youth Memorandum which was held at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.
The Jeema boss said Ugandan youths who make up the majority of the population should not be begging for space.
“It is really unprecedented, you cannot be a majority and you behave like a minority. How do minorities behave? They want to be given, they are lamenting, they are asking,” he stated.
Basalirwa further advised the youths to take keen interest in running for political offices across the board.
This he said is the only way their demands can be heard without being cold shouldered by those in Government.
“Nature abhors a vacuum. If you are not available, then nobody will think about you. It is no longer fashionable to say you are the leaders of tomorrow. Majorities cannot be leaders of tomorrow, majorities can only be leaders of now and today.
This call was re-echoed by acting Secretary of the Electoral Commission (EC) Leonard Mulekwa at the same event.
“There are so many positions it is possible to occupy all the big positions from President to Councillor, because now to become President you need to be 18 years,” Mulekwa noted.
Their remarks were in relation to concerns expressed in the fourteen paged ‘Uganda Youth Memorandum’, which seeks to strengthen Youth Political Participation.
The report shows that youths across the country want authorities to add them, five more seats in parliament.
“Other groups like the UPDF estimated at 100,000 in number are represented by 10 MPs. In addition to the 4 Youth Regional MPs, youth are also represented by the National Female MP whose constituency is the whole country, making it logistically expensive,” youths argue.
On the other hand, Basalirwa who in 2006 took a shot at Eastern Youth MP Position says this line of thought needs to be treated with caution. He says that Ugandans are getting weary of footing bills of a constantly expanding Parliament.
“The chamber itself is not enough for all of us. They are building a new one. I am not very sure whether it will be enough because again we have increased the number of representatives, new constituencies have emerged.
However according to Jasper Ayebare, an aspiring MP for Rubanda East, the high nomination fees are another stumbling block that needs to be addressed for more youths to join politics.
“They (nominations) were increased from 200,000 to 3 million shillings. I am curtailed to lead my country because I don’t have those 3 million. I don’t have a job. Other youths like me they don’t earn, so where do you expect us to get this money from?” Ayebare posed.
The Youth Memo is an initiative of the Netherlands Institute for Multi-Party Democracy (NIMD) and Public Policy Institute (PPI) designed to strengthen youth political participation in Uganda.