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Youth Participation key to shaping Uganda’s Political Destiny



The spirit of academic debate was once again rekindled in the Main Hall on 17th November 2015 as Youth from Ugandan Universities gathered to attend a panel discussion organized by the University Forum on Governance (UNIFOG) and International Republic Institute (IRI). Based on the theme Youth Participation in Political Processes: Constraints and Opportunities, the panel discussion was graced by Mr. Tom Malinowski, US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, who also made remarks on Uganda’s key regional role and the US position on foreign elections.

Welcoming participants and panelists to the event, the Director, UNIFOG and also the day’s moderator Mr. Yusuf Kiranda observed that despite constituting nearly half the registered voters, the youth had still failed to make a meaningful and sustainable impact on politics and governance processes. “As young people, we have to use every forum, platform and opportunity to organize ourselves and voice out systematically and structurally what we think are the ideas that we need the political process to respond to” he noted.

In his remarks, The Assistant Secretary of State appreciated Uganda’s role in maintaining regional peace by sending forces to fight Al Shabaab in Somalia as well as protect civilians in three countries from LRA insurgents. He further emphasized the role of good governance in the advancement of a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Uganda, especially in the run-up to the upcoming elections.

“The United States doesn’t take sides in foreign elections; we have no favorite parties or people. But we do take a stand when it comes to the process,” said Mr. Malinowski. He expressed hope that healthy competition would pave the way for a free and fair election in the form of a free press, respect for freedom of assembly, as well as an impartial military and police force. “We want to see everyone’s voice heard and everyone’s vote to count. The only outcome we want to see is one that Ugandans will believe in” he added.

Mr. Tom Malinowski (C) takes questions from the audience after delivering his remarks on 17th November 2015

Mr. Malinowski noted that despite meeting Ugandan youth who had lost faith in the political process, he hoped that all those gathered would take advantage of their large numbers. He noted that this statistical fact presented youth with the perfect opportunity to guarantee that candidates addressed issues that impacted their welfare. With regard to conduct, he urged them to consider the example of Ghanaian youth who played a major role in ensuring that supporters of two rival camps remained calm during the closely contested presidential election of 2008. He however warned that elections are not everything, but life ought to go on after the polls.

“Elections aren’t everything.  A ballot, alone, cannot give you justice or a job.  But it can give you a say.  So I hope you will take part.  I hope some of you will run for office, if not now, then someday.  If you do, I hope you will play by the rules even if others don’t; that you will listen to your opponents with respect even if they are disrespectful,” advised Mr. Malinowski.

The Assistant Secretary of State then took part in an interactive session where members of the audience raised questions ranging from what the US position would be should the 2016 election outcome be negative, what strategies was the US offering to shape aspirations of politically ambitious youth, and measures to effectively monitor polls using election observers. In his response, Mr. Malinowski reiterated that the role of the US was to promote good election outcomes and not predict any negative ones. He expressed hope that Ugandan leaders at all levels would realize that it is in their best interest to participate in chaos-free elections. He urged the youth to make the most of social media platforms to learn of the best political practices from all corners of the globe, and urged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to continue nurturing the youth on the role of good governance. He decried the direct involvement of the armed forces in elections and offered to use the remaining days of his visit to further dialogue with their leadership.

Mr. Yusuf Kiranda (C) with panelists Ms. Helena Okiring, Ms. Loyola Karobwa, Mr. Micheal Mugisha, Mr. Jacob Eyeru and Ms. Isabella Akiteng discuss youth participation in Ugandan politics
Part of the motivation for the day’s debate was to contribute towards the attainment of structural change whereby the voices of young men and women count in the governance and decision making processes. To help shape the discussion; Mr. Jacob Eyeru-A Student Leader, Ms. Helena Okiring-A Youth and Gender Activist, Mr. Micheal Mugisha-An Assistant Lecturer, Department of Population Studies, Makerere University, Ms. Isabella Akiteng-Project Coordinator, Uganda Youth Network and Ms. Loyola Karobwa-A Member of the Youth Leaders’ Think Tank for Policy Alternatives were assembled as panelists.

In her contribution, Ms. Helena Okiring observed that the youth, by virtue of their numbers represent continuity, opportunity and can therefore make a tangible difference if they actively participate in politics. She however noted with concern the increased monetization and patronage as occasioned by other political entities, which eventually affected how the youth engaged in political activity. She noted that there were growing patterns of youth activism, especially as youth organized themselves around CSOs to make their demands heard.

Mr. Yusuf Kiranda the day’s Moderator then turned the debate to Mr. Jacob Eyeru, tasking him to explain why despite the increased youth organisation, their voices and participation in the political processes was not as profound as expected. In his response, Mr. Eyeru noted that political participation cannot be fostered by most of the CSOs to which some of the youth belong as they tend to be activity-driven. He further shared that youth leagues are more active under political party structures and only heard of around election times. He therefore urged the leadership of the youth leagues especially in political parties, to show more evidence of appropriate representation beyond only participating in the elective process.

Ms. Isabella Akiteng in her contribution on youth participation in the political process noted the glaring lack of civic education, after only half of the audience raised their hands in answer to her question on how many had taken time to pick up their National Identity Cards. She urged the youth to look beyond the surface to the consequences of all messages such as defiance as Part of the audience from various Ugandan Universities that actively participated in the debate on 17th November 2015 in the Main Hall, Makerere University, Kampala Ugandaperpetrated by the entities they belong to. With regard to low youth participation, she noted the need for polices to interact more with the demographics of the population so as to effectively align any messages to the appropriate channels of dissemination.  She emphasized the need to educate the population on the importance of associating their vote to service delivery at all levels.

With regard to the policy gaps in lieu of political participation, whereas Ms. Loyola Karobwa admitted that they do exist, she argued that a poor attitude towards the process presented an even bigger problem. She urged the youth gathered not to shun participation in elective politics as the entry level has been sent low. She further encouraged youth to shun youth affiliations that sought to label them as “poor” and any other negative connotations.

To help further demystify the mystery of low youth participation, the last panelist of the day Mr. Michael Mugisha sought to create a distinction between participation by attendance and by impactful involvement. He emphasized the need to stress the gains of impactful versus passive participation, such that all those that would hitherto shun the process get fully engaged, mindful that their participation will influence policy implementation. He also called for distinguishing between the different kinds of youth based on their location in rural/urban areas or their economic status, so as to avoid generalizing their would-be interests and aspirations.

The curtains came down on the day’s debate with members of the audience voicing opinions ranging from the resolve to vote and actively participate in more organisational activities away from elections, to adoption of constructive and respectful language during debates. The youth however could not shake the fact that monetization of political participation made it hard for new entrants to actively engage in the electoral processes, but expressed their willingness to keep trying.

Article by Public Relations Office

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Advert: Mature Age Entry Scheme – Private Sponsorship 2024/2025



Students sit for an exam in the pre-COVID era, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites applications for the Undergraduate
Programmes under the Mature Age Entry Scheme only for Private Sponsorship for
2024/2025 Academic Year.
Non-Refundable Application fee of Shs. 50,000/= for Ugandans OR $75 Equivalent for
Internationals, plus bank charge should be paid in any of the banks used by Uganda
Revenye Authority after generating a Payment Reference Number (PRN).

  • Apply using the Institution’s Applications Portal URL:https: //
  • Application is for candidates who passed the Mature Age Entry Examinations of December 17, 2022 and February 24, 2024 only.
  • Any candidate who passed the examinations in mentioned above and was not admitted on Government/ Private sponsorship for December 17, 2022 sitting, and for Government sponsorship for February 24, 2024 sitting, is eligible to apply for admission on Private Sponsorship for 2024 /2025 Academic Year.

The closing date for applying will be Friday 26th July, 2024.

Further details can be accessed by following this link.

Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza

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Diploma/Degree Holders Admission Lists 2024/25



Main Library, Makerere University. Photo taken on 29th February 2016.

The Office of Academic Registrar, Makerere University has released lists of Diploma/Degree Holder applicants admitted under Private/Self Sponsorship for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that admission is subject to verification of academic documents by the awarding institutions.

The admission list is displayed here below:

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African Futures Research Leadership Program: Cohort 5 – Call for Scholars



Participants at the initial AAP convening participate in design-thinking exercises to help imagine the future of partnerships between MSU and Africa. Photo: AAP

The Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) is seeking applicants for the fifth cohort of the AAP African Futures Research Leadership Program. This competitive visiting scholar program supports early career researchers from the AAP consortium to work for one year under the mentorship of faculty members from MSU and their home institution, focusing on building skills in research for impact, writing scholarly and/or policy publications, disseminating of research results, and developing grant proposals for external support. Scholars will also participate in a structured professional development program while building bridges and lasting connections with MSU contacts and across their cohort. 

The main objective of the African Futures program is to strengthen the capacity of a cadre of African researchers to return to their home institutions and become scientific leaders in their community, establish long-term partnerships with MSU faculty, co-create innovative solutions to Africa’s challenges, and in turn become trainers of the next generation of researchers. This program aims to address the gender gap in Africa, where only 30% of researchers are women, so scholars selected for the program will be women, or men who can demonstrate they are committed to support efforts towards gender equity in higher education institutions in Africa. The research areas that the scholars will engage in during the program should be aligned to AAP’s research priority areas

The AAP Management Team requests applications from early career researchers to participate in the next cohort, with work to begin virtually in February 2025. Scholars will spend September – December 2025 at MSU for the in-person portion of the program, followed by another period of virtual collaboration, ending in early 2026. The scholar and mentor team will receive a small grant for research and professional development activities including conference attendance and publication. Scholars will also receive a stipend during their time at MSU, visa application support, and round-trip travel from their home institution.


  • Citizen of an African country 
  • Completion of a PhD degree within the last 10 years 
  • Employed as an Academic Staff member at one of the AAP African consortium universities including Egerton University, Makerere University, University of Dar es Salaam, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Botswana, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University Cheikh Anta Diop, University of Arts and Humanities, Bamako, United States International University-Africa, and University of Pretoria 
  • Have documented approval of leave or sabbatical to participate in the program for the in-person period 
  • Have a mentor at their home institution that will serve as a collaborator and mentor
  • Research must be in one of the AAP priority areas
  • Applicants may only submit one proposal to AAP in this round of funding. Prior scholars are not eligible to apply. 

To learn more about the program, including how to apply, click below

Learn more

Applications to be an African Futures scholar are due August 18, 2024

Additional program dates:

  • Program start date (virtual): February 2025
  • In-person program: Sept – Dec 2025
  • Program end date: February 2026

Please contact Jose Jackson-Malete at or +1 517-353-6989 with any questions.

Source: AAP

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