This youth forum has a plan of moving country wide talking to young people to desist from any form of violence
By Amlan Tumusiime
On Saturday, I attended a football tournament held at the KCCA playground at Lugogo in Kampala organised by the inter-party national youth league platform. It is aimed at promoting and advocating for peace during and after the age-limit consultations.
The football tournament held under the theme "youth as agents of peace" attracted all the eight political parties in the country. These included: NRM, FDC, DP, UPC, CP, PPP, Federal Alliance and Jeema. The players were dressed in jerseys representing their political party colours and all their party flags were flying in one line at the play ground.
The league brings together youth leaders of all the eight political parties in the country and was formed in 2011.
I was invited to this function by Brenda Atim Kinyera, the Uganda People's Congress (UPC) national leader from Nwoya district, who is also the current chairperson of the league. I came to know Atim through the former Kole Woman MP, Ruth Aceng (UPC) and now Uganda's Ambassador to Canada during the 2016 Presidential campaigns. I received Aceng's team in Hoima to campaign for President Museveni.
Back to the event. A few days ago, I rang Atim asking her what her inter-party national youth league was planning to do on the increasing violence involving young people during the ongoing l age limit consultations. She informed me of this football tournament and invited me to attend. Unfortunately, all the party presidents did not attend.
At the event, I watched James Akena's UPC knocking out Major-General Mugisha Muntu's FDC by six goals to nil. FDC lost because they fielded only seven players (men) and failed to get four ladies to make the 11 squad team. The rules of the game were that four of the 11 players should be women for gender purposes.
My happiness was, however, short-lived when Mzee Jabeli Bidandi Ssali's PPP knocked out President Yoweri Museveni's NRM by two goals to nil. At the end of the tournament, Asuman Baswalira's Jeema the defending champions, reclaimed the trophy by beating Akena's UPC by four goals to one in a penalty shout-out. Nobert Mao's DP, Ken Lukyamuzi's CP and Betty Kamya's Federal Alliance were knocked out earlier.
Anyone who attended the Lugogo event would agree with me that an organised young people like this group when it comes out with a health programme to promote peace by talking to young people not to involve themselves in any acts of violence needs total support. Their day's theme: "Youth as Agents of Peace" speaks volumes.
The day's master of ceremonies Moses Engunyu kept reminding the audience that the Inter-Party National Youth League platform is comprised of different political parties with different believes, especially on the issue of amending article 102(b) of the Constitution to remove the presidential age-limit and kept emphasising that those against should do so peacefully and those for also should do it peacefully.
In other words, those for "Togikwatako" and those for "Gikwateko" all participated in the football tournament, played together expressing that though they had different believes on the presidential age Bill they can either agree or disagree peacefully.
This youth forum has a plan of moving country wide talking to young people to desist from any form of violence because it is the young people who suffer most, some losing their lives others getting permanently injured while others get jailed.
This kind of arrangement is very good and necessary because the young population is growing big and bigger every the other day and if they are left to be used by selfish politicians then they cannot be productive. For several years now the country has witnessed many young people dying during clashes with security agencies and sometimes in unnecessary confrontations.
For example the Kayunga riots, the Walk-to-Work, defiance campaigns and now the Togikwatako or Gikwateko campaign. In all this young people who would be productive and contribute to national development end up dying in silly and uncalled for riots.
In fact such riots involving the young people and security agencies affect the economy because many potential foreign investors feel scared and the country loses out because such investors would establish factories and other business related services that would create jobs for the people and maybe such young people would be beneficiaries of the job opportunities.
Therefore, the efforts of the Inter-Party National Youth League Platform of coming out to talk and sensitise their fellow young people not to engage in any form of violence, but rather promote peace should be supported by everbody who is a peace loving Ugandan regardless of the political party one subscribes to.
Uganda is bigger than all of us and we should not allow this hard earned peace the country is enjoying just to perish like that.
Writer is an NRM mobiliser for Bunyoro region