Recently, I led a delegation of 600 youth of central (Buganda) region, to State House, Entebbe. Top on the agenda was the commitment of the NRM government to youth development and employment creation.
In our resolution, we made it clear that we have known no other president who can take the country forward apart from President Museveni, and that there is no government that could fulfill the aspirations of the people and drive the country to complete transformation apart from the NRM government.
For starters, the youth have been targets of manipulation by the opportunistic politicians and various subversive forces, who would taken it upon themselves to recruit young people as human shields in the gruesome battles against police and security agencies. For instance in the famous walk-to-work protests which were orchestrated by the Opposition on the heels of the 2011 general elections, the youth were involved in deadly skirmishes with the police which led to scores getting killed and others being arrested.
Their masters, the Opposition politicians, would keep smiling from the comforts of their SUVs, and thereafter run to the bank to collect money from their donors!
Of crucial importance was the long discussion about jobs, wealth creation and poverty eradication among the youth. The NRM government fought and won the war over dictatorship, the greatest battle now is the war on poverty and unemployment, against which the President has declared an-all-out war. The President was pleased to learn that some of the youth were engaged in income generating activities such as commercial farming, small medium enterprises such as jua-kalis; metal fabrications, manufacturing products like liquid soap, African-style garments and accessories, low-cost energy technologies, juice manufacturing and processing, and among others.
The mentioned is what largely forms the informal sector which accounts for about 86 per cent of the national economy. The discussion zeroed on the opportunities for the youth in these activities, how to find markets and how to solve the strategic underlying challenges under the public-private sector partnerships for youth development.
There are stories which have been circulating in the media that the youth of central region went and prostrated before the President for cash handouts. This is not true.
The youth are much more concerned about the President and the NRM government addressing their concerns chief of which is market for their products. Money, or the so-called cash handouts, was secondary in this aspect. In any case, the President is not a bullion van or ATM which dispenses money at everyone’s wish! It is bigotry of the highest degree to reduce the President to such cheap talk of cash handouts. There is nothing the Head of State was buying from us, or paying us for. Our loyalty and support to the President and the NRM party is borne out of conviction and a deep desire to see continuous progress and socio-economic transformation occasioned by the NRM government.
Kneeling especially among Baganda is a symbol of respect. It can be either done or expressed to anyone who deserves it. On this occasion President Museveni deserved it. A lot of traditional singing in Buganda is done well when the singers are sitting or kneeling down. Children and Youth in Buganda kneel before their parents and elders. So nobody should ridicule Baganda’s culture when it is exhibited.
The youth of central region will continue to show support to the President, amidst the allegations of skewed power play in the NRM party. We need the President around for another term of office so as to prepare the nation for an orderly transition of power to a young generation of leaders. We also need him to guide the nation towards an orderly oil dispensation now that we are set to produce our oil resource soon. We know what we want and we know where to get it.
Mr Nakabale is the Youth MP- Central region/General Secretary NRM Parliamentary Caucus