KAMPALA – The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has reechoed the importance of addressing and acceptance of youth engagement in the leadership of the country.
Addressing eminent women led by Florence Butegwa from the Women’s Situation Room on Monday 15 February, 2021 in her boardroom, Kadaga urged that whereas a lot of focus has been given to women’s engagement in governance, more is needed towards bringing the youth on board.
The Speaker said that during her own campaign trail, the youth constantly sought an opportunity to independently engage in the political arena while canvassing for votes.
“They kept on telling me they did not want to work with the old people; they asked for their own platform to lobby for votes working independently and when I yielded to their demands they delivered,” she said.
Kadaga said that the voting pattern in the recently concluded elections on January 2021 was a signal sent out to the older generation that they are ready to take part in the national politics and issues of governance.
The Women’s Situation Room is an initiative which started in Liberia in 2011 as a mechanism for promoting peace before, during and after elections. This brought together eminent women who are apolitical and aim to support and promote peace.
The Initiative worked mainly with women and the young people in the recent elections because the youth, who are the main stakeholders in electoral processes, often are a target of manipulation to engage in actions that may destabilise peace.
Butegwa noted that in their interaction with the youth, one of the resounding messages was the youth’s excitement about their desire to contribute to their country through leadership roles.
“This expression from the youth is something that should be embraced by the authorities and a conversation that must entertained because it is developmental,” she said.
She further suggested that the youth participating in leadership would go a long way in bridging the gap with various development partners and the electorate who are mainly young people.
Justice Mary Maitum, a member, held that the youth are no longer interested in pacification of their desire to engage in leadership but rather an open dialogue on the matter.
“The youth want to be appreciated for who they are, they want their ideas to be given audience, something that should be made a priority by the leadership,” the retired High Court judge added.
Maude Mugisha, one of the eminent women and member said that the Initiative trained 1,500 youth to act as peace advocates and peer peace promoters to mitigate any form of insurgence in the would-be hot spot areas of violence across the country.
The Women’s Situation Room targeted 30 districts divided amongst four situation rooms in the four regions of Uganda (Central, Northern, Eastern and Western regions).
The delegation also included Prof. Joy Kwesiga, Rev. Canon Diana Nkesiga and Margaret Ssekagya.