Connect with us


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

Continue Reading


Launch of Mak-RIF Round 4 Awards & PhD Call for Proposals



Mak-RIF 4 Awards and PhD Call For Proposals, 29th September 2022, 9:00 to 10:00 AM EAT.

Makerere University received funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support high impact Research and Innovations. This unique initiative arose after engagements between the top University Management and the Government of Uganda. This fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of development and transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. 

In the Financial years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Mak-RIF has funded implementation of over 750 multidisciplinary research and innovations within the various Colleges, while engaging multiple stakeholders within and outside Makerere University. The Grants Management Committee (GMC) has finalized the award process for the Mak-RIF round 4 call for funding for this Financial Year 2022/2023.

The Grants Management Committee (GMC) hereby invites you to the Launch of the Mak-RIF Round 4 awards and PhD Call for Proposals scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday 29th September 2022 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EAT. 

Please use the following details to join the launch.

Register in advance for this meeting: 
Meeting ID: 884 5662 9992
Password: 292624

Continue Reading


Notice: Makerere Disability Scheme 2022/23 Medical Review Exercise



One of the PWD graduands at the 69th Graduation during the Session held on 17th January 2019.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites persons with disability who applied for admission to public universities under the disability entry scheme for 2022/2023 Academic Year to appear for medical/review exercise at Makerere Unive, Senate Building, Level Two (2) in the Telepresence Centre.

NOTE: Only those who have the minimum entry requirements of at least two principal passes at A’ Level or its equivalent and at least five (5) passes at O’ Level or its equivalent will be interviewed.

 Only candidates who sat ‘a’ level in 2020, 2019 and 2018 are eligible for admission.

THE EXERCISE WILL BE CONDUCTED ON 3rd, 4th and 5th October, 2022 respectively from 9.00 A.M – 1.00 P.M each day.


(i) If you fail to appear on any of the given days above, there will be no other chance for you.

(ii) Applicants with Government Scholarship for the previous years are not eligible for admission



Continue Reading


Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution



Left to Right: Prof. Gunnar Köhlin, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Amb. Maria Håkansson, Commissioner Julius Mafumbo and Prof. Edward Bbaale posing for a group photo before the opening ceremony on 22nd September 2022: Photo by EfD-Mak Centre.

The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.

The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.

Read more

Continue Reading