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Youth petition gov't over parliament representation

By Farooq Kasule

Added 4th March 2016 07:39 PM

The review will also help the government to know whether there is a need for the special interest groups

The review will also help the government to know whether there is a need for the special interest groups

The Uganda Youth Network (UYONET) has petitioned the government to conduct a national review of the special interest group representation in the parliament to evaluate the need for their continued representation and strengthening of the representation. 

Addressing the media, the UYONET, programme officer Isabella Akiteng said the review will also help the government to know whether there is a need for the special interest groups to be represented in parliament. 

"Most of the youth are still querying the relevance of their representation in the house. It will be better if the government gather the youth's opinions countrywide to take the future decision on the youth election" Akiteng said 

UYONET is one of the organizations that were accredited by the Electoral Commission to observe the elections and also deployed a team of youth domestic observers under the youth coalition for electoral democracy to participate in the election observation mission. 

Akiteng claimed that the youth electoral college system should be abolished to adult suffrage as it is done for the women members of parliament to encourage broader participation of the youth in the electoral process. 

About the irregularities in the just-concluded youth elections, Akiteng said the Electoral Commission should identify eligible youth voters and invite only those confirmed to participate in the youth elections to avoid violence which was registered in the central region and Kabarole where Gen. Henry Tumukunde was reportedly shot. 

"We noted through our observers that the tensions both in Masaka and Kabarole were caused by the Electoral Commission officials who did not effectively communicate to the delegates about their logistical entitlements" Akiteng said. 

She noted that youth elections starting at 4pm in some places was a total mockery which clearly indicated that the Electoral Commission mismanaged the youth electoral process. 

The UYONET programme manager Ronald Otim implored the youth to desist from any form of violence, stand for peace, dialogue and only pursue constitutional measures to address their grievances concerning the recently conducted elections through courts of law. 

"We as the youth we have been used by self-seeking politicians for so long. Most of our colleagues are perishing in prisons while others lost their lives, it is high time to reject such politicians" Otim said. 

He advocated for negotiations with all political parties and democracy seeking citizens in order to avoid plunging the country into anarchy. 

"We are confident that majority of Ugandans desire a country where they can enjoy their constitutional rights which peace, stability and prosperity" Otim said. 

Otim also asked parliament to consider constitutional amendments to bring down nomination fees of aspiring candidates at all levels to increase the number of youth participating in the electoral process. 

Meanwhile the  programme officer African Youth Network Development Link, Hassan Ndugwa appealed to the Electoral Commission to synchronize and standardize the Electoral Commission data base to identify the voters to cut down on malpractices and impersonation of voters. 

A significant percentage of Ugandans who registered to vote in the recent elections were aged between 18 and 35 years.

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