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Politicians, be ready for queries

By Vision Reporter

Added 4th December 2005 03:00 AM

SIR — There has been an exponential growth of student population in Uganda and that may remain so in medium to long term.

SIR — There has been an exponential growth of student population in Uganda and that may remain so in medium to long term. These are all people who were born or grew up during the de-facto NRM one-party state and, for the majority of them, multiparty politics is a totally new phenomenon — only read about in text books or heard of in the media. On completion of their studies, many of them walk the streets for years in search of non-existent jobs or dread the prospect of doing so. They are long resigned to the fate of being unemployed or underemployed. For the first time, they will be hearing several alternative political and economic programmes to the NRM ones, aimed at arresting and reversing this state of affairs. The new political dispensation allows a plethora of political platforms with alternative political programmes to the NRM. Being one of the most revolutionary groups among the intelligentsia, the new reality could have the effect of galvanising the youth and students into a formidable political force, demanding improvement of their lot, be it in government or private institutions. When they find out especially that the overwhelming majority of them are not at all benefiting from the taxes their parents, guardians or relatives pay, or the coffee or other cash crops they grow, a number of questions are likely to come up, such as: What is the size of the budget for education and how do the students benefit from it? What, if any, is the government’s contribution to their education and upkeep? Where else does the money go and how much? When such questions begin to be raised, political party and personal manifestos are almost certainly sure to be written, re-written or amended outlining their plans on this issue. The beauty of competitive politics is in the effective accountability that it has of imposing on the incumbent and future governments a set of concrete and measurable promises.
Its verdict is then left to the electorate to decide for themselves who best reflects and meets their needs.
For now, the youth and students in Uganda know no different other than to believe in a benevolent leader who may or may not address their situation. They are bound to be pleasantly surprised.

Stephen Julius Lwetutte
London

Politicians, be ready for queries

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