KAMPALA – The National Youth Council have demanded that the Electoral Commission should start facilitating youths who express interest in elective political positions saying the campaigns in Uganda are very expensive for the young people participate.
The youth now want tax payers to meet the cost of their campaigns.
The call was made on Tuesday, while the Council interfaced with lawmakers on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to table their views on the five bills geared towards enacting electoral reforms ahead of the 2021 general elections.
Saidi Kirabira, Secretary, Legal Affairs at the Uganda National Youth Council said that the council has observed that the participation of the young people in youth elections is tedious and expensive as it requires transportation of voters, delegates from one place to another.
“Lack of facilitation discriminates the young people from taking part in youth council elections since it involves transporting youth voters from parishes to district voting areas. It is therefore proposed that the EC takes into account facilitating youth voters during elections,” said Kirabira.
Additionally, the Youth Council also proposed to have the Parliamentary Elections Amendment Act 2015 be amended to reduce the nomination fees from UGX 3M to the original UGX200,000 saying the earlier amendment in 2015 was made in bad faith to prohibit low income earners who are largely young people from participating in Parliamentary elections.
Kirabira asked the MPs to show the same spirit that was portrayed in the recent constitutional amendments specifically on the age limit, to be used to reduce the nomination fees to leverage space of participation for the young people as well.
In their proposals, the Youths also want the relationship between political parties and youth leagues to be streamlined through mandatory creation of youth leagues within political parties and have roles of the youth leagues clearly elaborated in order to enhance youth participation in activities of political parties but also to act as a nursery bed for mentoring political leaders.
The Youths also want a clause within the law that prohibits political parties from manipulating the youth and using them as weapons of violence.