KAMPALA – Youth leaders have decried the “Commercialization and Monetization of Politics” noting that the high nomination fees especially for the position of parliamentary seats has left out many potential youth leaders with no chance to serve their country.
Through their Inter-Party Youth Platform – IYOP, they want a reduction in nomination fees from current shs3 million to at most shs200,000 which they say is affordable for most young people. They also want a review of the electoral college for youth to universal suffrage, because it has practically failed due to monetization and hiding of voters.
Speaking at the IYOP leadership handover event on Thursday, Macxzzon Muhwezi – the outgoing Chairman said that as young leaders, they are faced with a number of barriers and the much money asked as a prerequisite makes the limited resources of young people a key inhibitor to youth participation in electoral processes.
“It was noted that there is no equitable electoral participation. The media too, are expensive, and the nomination costs too, are high.”
They decried the gap in civic and voter education – noting that young people across the country lack sufficient civic and voter awareness and education which makes a significant drawback to the country’s Electoral Democracy.
Also, Muhwezi said the EC has failed to reign in the distribution of money at polling stations on polling day by some candidates and agents. “Some Resident District Commissioners and security operatives have become directly involved in elections and even participate in handling election materials outside the provisions of the law and Ballot stuffing goes on unabated. This makes the electoral landscape unevenly yoked.”
The youth also say sexual harassment has distanced a good number of them from participating in national politics – calling on EC as a regulator of political parties to devise means of addressing so, as to promote safe spaces for young women in politics.
Another challenge mentioned is compromised polling officials who are recruited by the recommendation of security agencies.
“Problem with political oversight of the military: IYOP contends that in a democracy, much as security is necessary, security forces like the army, prison, police and intelligence should be accountable to civilian authority. The military and security overriding civilian institutions like EC is a reversal of the country’s democratic gains.”
They added, “The army still remains a challenge to Uganda’s democratic gains. Although under the NRM, Uganda has professionalized the army and infused discipline in the armed forces, the involvement of the army in politics still remains a big challenge to the country’s democracy.”
In their position paper, they want a signed partnership with the Electoral Commission, to conduct civic and voter education among youth, ahead of the 2026 general elections, as a solution to about 67 per cent issues that buttress election violence. Also proposed is that Civic education becomes part of the curriculum from primary school.
IYOP proposes tough criminal sanctions and penalties on perpetrators of electoral violence and malpractices including barring them from contesting elections for some time.
They proposed EC as a regulator of political parties to obligate political parties to have and comply with a sexual harassment code so as to promote safe spaces for young women/ men in politics.
Election Day and Security Agencies: IYOP proposes that the EC should not abdicate their election day roles to security agencies and should direct and guide security agencies as a subordinate in electoral process.
They also want EC to direct political parties to allocate at least 40 per cent from the subvention under public financing of political parties to youth activities such as mentorship.
The Inter-Party Youth Platform is a cooperation framework of ten major Political Party Youth Leagues in Uganda, from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Ecological Party of Uganda (EPU), Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), National Resistance Movement (NRM), Democratic Party (DP), Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA), Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), Justice Forum (JEEMA), Conservative Party (CP), to Alliance for National Transformation (ANT).
The forum was established in 2011 to amplify the voices of youth leaders of the respective political parties, to promote and advance peaceful political dialogue, collective advocacy on common concerns to youth in politics, and tolerance within political processes in Uganda.
Ms. Lynnet Nanyonjo of the Peoples Progressive Party is now the new Platform’s Chair for the next three months.