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Youth mark day by riding bicycles to protest against high unemployment

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Youth ride bicycles past Busega Roundabout on Kampala-Masaka road yesterday during demonstrations against the high unemployment rates. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By STEPHEN KAFEERO

Posted  Thursday, May 1   2014 at  21:40
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Kampala.

A group of youth protested the high unemployment rate as the country joined other nations to mark the International Labour Day yesterday.
The youth, who included members from the civil society, university students and political activists, rode bicycles from Busega Roundabout on Kampala-Masaka road through Nateete, Nalukolongo, Kibuye and ended at the pan-African Square opposite Usafi Taxi Park.

Mr Innocent Tugume, a 24-year-old Environmental Science graduate of Makerere University, who rode a bicycle for 380 kilometres from Mitooma District in western Uganda to Kampala to highlight the crisis of joblessness in the country, was part of the group.

The more than 60 youth criticised President Museveni for launching an anti-poverty drive using bicycles and motorcycles and condemned the government for not doing enough to fight the unemployment problem.

In a statement read by lawyer and human rights activist Andrew Karamagi, the youth said “it is incomprehensible that in this day and age, where brute force and raw energy have long been replaced by a computer chip, a whole head of State seeks to fight poverty through bicycles”.
“No country has ever developed out of hand-outs or tokenism. More laughable is the President’s launch of an antipoverty drive using bicycles and motorcycles.”

They condemned and took exception with the recently launched Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP), which they described as a disguise to the NRM party youth mobilisation project.

Youth programme
The government last week rolled out YLP, in which at least 2.8 million jobless youth across the country are expected to benefit in the latest war against poverty and unemployment.

More than 10,000 jobless youth selected from 27 districts in the first phase were expected this week to share more than Shs12 billion released to the Ministry of Gender under the YLP, a five-year anti-poverty project.

The architect of the project, Mr Pius Bigirimana, said the Gender ministry had embarked on the roll-out of the implementation of YLP to all the 112 districts, targeting jobless youth.