“The number of Youth MPs should be increased to have a representative from each sub regions,”
PIC: Gerald Karuhanga, the MP for Ntungamo Municipality and former Youth MP Western Region was one of the participants. Photo by Miriam Namutebi.
Increasing the number of youth MPs will guarantee that more issues affecting the youth are addressed by the government, according to youth leaders at a meeting convened this week.
The meeting was organised by Kituo Cha Katiba in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Uganda, both human rights organisations. The participants, many of them youth leaders, deliberated on strengthening the accountability and performance of Youth MPs in Uganda.
Uganda is the world’s second youngest population after Niger with 78% of its population under the age of 30 years yet they are faced with numerous challenges which have hampered their participation in and contribution to development.
The challenges highlighted included youth unemployment standing at 83%, limited access to youth friendly health services, low access to quality education, low participation in decision making, and high susceptibility to drug abuse among others.
“It’s against this background that the meeting was convened to find recommendations on three critical areas including legal reforms relating to the role of Youth MPs, discussing the legislative agenda for Youth MPs as well as standards on Youth MPs performance with a view to strengthen the accountability and performance of Youth MPs in Uganda,” says Doris Akiidii Mbigham, the senior programme manager at Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
After thorough deliberations, the meeting put forward recommendations including increment in parliamentary youth representatives.
“The number of Youth MPs should be increased to have a representative from each sub regions,” says Mbigham.
It was also suggested that every region be represented by two people; female and male and the national female youth position scrapped.
The participants also requested an amendment of the local government act to lift the age cap on the top positions at local government level and as well amend the investment code to ensure all foreign labour hired must be highly specialized and unavailable in Uganda.
Among the other recommendations were:
• Policy to implement the National Youth Service Scheme; minimum wage to support the young people in the employment.
• Develop and implement policies to protect and promote young entrepreneurs
• Have youth representation in the different government institutions; every government institution should have youth desk.
• Every constitutional body should have a programme to engage youth at all levels of decision making.
The national youth female MP, Anna Adeke was one of the participants.
“There is need to build partnerships to support the work of Youth MPs and share the work load with development partners,” she said.
Other participants included Gerald Karuhanga the MP for Ntungamo Municipality also former Youth MP Western Region, Patrick Nakabaale the former Youth Member of Parliament and Adea Stephen the Chairperson Lira District Youth Council among others.