Youth have asked the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to support plans to establish a Commonwealth Youth Parliamentary Network in Uganda.
The youth who represented Uganda in a virtual sitting of the Annual Commonwealth Youth Parliament from 14 to 18 December 2020, said that the association, if formed, will create awareness about the activities and benefits of engaging in the Commonwealth Youth Parliament.
The youth made this call while presenting a report on the Commonwealth Youth Parliamentary sitting to Kadaga on Tuesday, 09 February 2021.
Richard Magamba Erasto, the Acting Youth Coordinator in the Diocese of Kampala, Church of Uganda said the platform is not known by majority of youth.
“I managed to participate after learning about it on social media. Youth at the grassroots do not know about it and yet it provides them with an opportunity to discuss and find solutions to their challenges,” said Magamba adding that, “during the event, I interacted with delegates from India who are willing to share their experiences with Ugandan youth.”
According to Magamba, whilst there is poor information flow and no deliberate effort by relevant stakeholders to educate youth about such opportunities, the young people ought to take interest and seek information.
“Youth are always on social media engaging in non-developmental issues while ignoring the issues which affect them. If we started this network, I believe we shall change the mindset of youth to spend their time productively,” said Magamba.
He added that the association can also be utilised to mobilise young people to promote peace, develop their talents in sports which he said acts as an income generating activity addressing youth unemployment.
Leon Omwine Ananura, a student at the Uganda Christian University said that such a network will also be used to improve the relationship between the army and youths, saying that the two are ever at loggerheads and yet they are all important in the peace building process.
“Youth have a negative perspective about the army. We need to encourage dialogue between the two so as to promote a peaceful environment for both to co-exist,” Omwine said.
Kadaga who pledged to support the establishment of the network also raised concern over the lack of awareness on the Commonwealth Youth Parliament, saying that many youths especially in rural areas do not know about several international bodies that Uganda subscribes to.
“We need to mobilise youth and educate them about the benefits of getting involved in such platforms. I will organise a meeting between youth and the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliament Association and the Spokesperson of the army so that we can discuss further,” Kadaga said.
The Speaker added that there have been efforts in the past to create awareness on the Commonwealth Parliament Association.
“We also had Ugandans engaged in several business showcase their work. By inviting them, they learned more about the Commonwealth Parliament,” said Kadaga.
She also applauded the youth for their interest in promoting tree planting, saying that Parliament is engaging in tree planting activities countrywide in a bid to combat the effects of climate change.