A group of youth delegates who turned up to vote for the Youth MP central region at Patel Hall in Masaka District have turned rowdy , refusing to participate in the elections until they are given more money.
Led by Mr Daniel Lumansi, the youth chairperson for Kakiri Town Council, the youth accuse the electoral commission of giving them little money compared to other interest groups.
“We were meant to get Shs1m but the EC is giving us only Shs400,000. We shall not participate in this election unless we are given all our money,” Mr Lumansi said.
On whether they are entitled to this money or not, Mr Lumansi claims that colleagues in other special interest groups have been given their due, but not them.
“We are getting information that the government planned for us, for instance the People With Disabilities (PWDS) were given Shs1.2m each last week yet we are all in the same category ( Special interest groups),” he added.
Although Mr Emmanuel Matisko, the returning officer agrees that the youth are entitled to a specific pay, he dismissed their strike as “politically motivated.”
"We shall continue with the exercise even if most of the voters strike. We should not be too emotional and disorganise the program,” Mr Matsiko said.
Article 78(2)2 of the Constitution of Uganda provides for special interest representation of women, youth, workers, army and persons with disabilities.
Youth MPs account for five seats; central, eastern, western, northern and the national youth representative. Former central youth members of Parliament, including Mariam Nalubega 2001 – 2006 and Kasozi Muyomba 2006 to 2011 have all served a single term.
For one to be a youth MP, he or she should be less than 30 years old. In the last election, the current central occupant of the seat, Patrick Nakabaale, battled with the Mengo-leaning Hakim Kizza in the Electoral College, which convened in Masaka. Mr Arthur Katongole (Independent) and Ms Sarah Babirye Kityo are in the race to replace Mr Nakabaale.