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Unemployed Ugandans to mobilize against 2016 general elections

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Members of National Association of the Unemployed burn placards after addressing journalist in Kampala yesterday. The group was protesting against the increasing unemployment in the country. They said they had started a campaign that would register all unemployed youth across the country. They also dismissed claims by President Museveni that Arts courses were useless. PHOTO by ABUBAKER LUBOWA. 

By Stephen Kafeero

Posted  Thursday, August 28  2014 at  15:02
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KAMPALA:
Unemployed Ugandans will not participate in the 2016 general elections if government doesn’t address the high unemployment problem in the country, the National Association of the Unemployed (NAU) has warned.

The leaders of the group made the announcement during a media briefing at the Justice Forum (JEEMA) headquarters in Rubaga, Kampala yesterday.

They burned their graduation gowns as an expression of their frustration against the high unemployment rate(83%) in the country.

“If government fails to meet our demands we shall mobilize the unemployed Ugandans not to participate in the 2016 elections,” said Doreen Nyanjura the group’s national coordinator.

Go ahead
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said the group should go ahead and mobilize against the elections.
“Government does not owe anybody a living, let them go ahead and mobilize whoever they want against the elections. The government’s job is to put the overall macroeconomic policy frame work to which everybody can tap in.”

The group also announced that they are planning to open up offices for the unemployed in the whole country, mobilize unemployed Ugandans into one forum and build a data base. They called for the retirement of people they termed as their grand fathers.

“We demand the retirement of our grand fathers such that the young people can get jobs for example Dr Badru Kiggundu, Mr Yoweri Museveni, Justice Benjamin Odoki and Public Service Minister Henry Kajura among others who are occupying offices past their sale by date.”

Over 400,000 youth enter Uganda’s job market every year yet only 80 to 90,000 are absorbed in the labour market. The youth who are most affected by unemployment in the country have in the past month come up with various means to express their discontent against unemployment.

On June 19 two University students Norman Tumuhimbise and Robert Mayanja, members of the Jobless Brotherhood where arrested by police after they smuggled pigs into parliament protesting against political corruption and youth unemployment. The pigs where painted yellow, the colour of the ruling National Resistance Movement.
On August 4 members of the same group were arrested during a protest at the Independence Monument on Speke Road in Kampala. The youth used the coffin as a sign of mourning corruption and unemployment in the country.
Other demands
Equal opportunities in the employment sector
Unemployment benefits and compensation
Policy on youth skills development and deployment
Immediate release of those arrested and detained for being idle and disorderly
Accountability for the Shs 44.5 Bn given out under the ‘Youth Venture Capital fund’