Listen to the country’s youth
Posted Thursday, April 19 2012 at 00:00
A youth organisation has launched a campaign to promote national unity and cohesion. The group says it is motivated by sad realisation that in 50 years as an independent country and 112 years as a nation state, one key ingredient to nation building, unity in diversity, has eluded this country.
Divided, the colonialists mission to rule a territory whose size they felt satisfied their desires ruled us. However, despite these obvious selfish motive, the colonialists handed to our post-independence rulers a nation called Uganda and an identity of a people called Ugandans.
The responsibility of successive governments, therefore, should have been to harness this new found unity, appreciating our differences for a greater good. Sadly, they have all failed dismally.
On the one hand, tribal and ethnic identities are used to rally acquisition and holding of power, paying lip service to unity. Lost in demand and later celebration of a tribal based elevation of county to district status, basic services like health, education, access to power, road and other transport infrastructure have suffered.
As a result, poverty and lack of jobs for a majority of the population becomes the country’s common identity.
The Uganda Youth Network’s message is focusing on young people who constitute at least 78 per cent of the population. 56 per cent of these are actually children below the age of 18 and of this entire youth population, regardless of tribe, region or religious background, 83 per cent are leaving educational institutions and cannot find jobs.
This high young population also constitutes the segment that is receiving a bad education, getting stunted because they do not have enough to eat whether at home or school while resources are being amassed in the hands of a few.
Unity—at least of circumstances-- exists at this level and at another level of the small class of those who have enriched themselves mainly through corrupt means that enjoy the top patch where they have access to everything.
The youth’s message is for unity in diversity to pursue common aspirations of our humanity under their theme: “Embracing our patchwork heritage for a greater Uganda.”
This is an important call for our country, particularly at a time when we are marking 50 years of independence. Let us listen to the youth.