A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has unveiled the Platform for Youth Inclusion in Politics (PYIP) to encourage young people’s engagement and participation in their countries’ political discourse.
The CSOs behind PYIP include Restless Development, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, Action Aid, Global Platforms, Faraja Africa Foundation, IDEAS Uganda, and YouLead Summit.
Others are: Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA), Open Space Centre, Inter Party Youth Platform, Youth Coalition on Electoral Democracy (YCED), East African Youth Leaders’ Initiative on the ACDEG, among others.
Launched at Ntinda’s Eureka Place Hotel, PYIP’s formation comes months to 2021 ‘scientific’ elections in which campaign rallies will be banned to prevent the spread of Covid19.
PYIP leaders said the “special purpose vehicle will galvanize joint efforts and collaboration by young democracy actors and their organizations pre, during and post the 2021 general elections in Uganda.”
“PYIP comes at a time when the shrinking civic and political space makes it hard for any interventions aimed at improving the quality of youth leadership to achieve their aims,” observed Action Aid Uganda’s Primus Bahiigi.
“It will also push the youth agenda forward on aspects such as inclusive development, policy and legislation that will enable Uganda, the EAC Community and Africa at large to reap the fruits of the demographic bulge that the continent is currently blessed with.”
CEPA policy analyst Prosper Mubangizi will be the interim spokesperson of PYIP, whose secretariat is housed at the Global Platforms of Action Aid Uganda.
“Young people face great challenges generating accountability from their local leadership because there is no forum in which they can interact regularly and constructively with local and national government leadership,” Mubangizi said.
“There also exist some leadership gaps as elected youth leaders don’t represent the interests of the youth and there are limited mentorship and networking opportunities for upcoming leaders.”
WHAT OTHER YOUTH ACTIVISTS SAID
“Mainstreaming young people into the governance processes will ensure that we have inclusive and participatory leadership that fosters national cohesion. Good governance is a crucible for national development.” Lynnet Nanyonjo, The Leader of the Inter Party Youth Platform (IYOP).
“For young people to look out for each other during this electoral period. Open Space Centre is committed to ensure that first time voters are mobilized to participate in the elections.” Wakhib Bunya, Team Leader at Open Space Centre
“How are young people going to position themselves differently during these scientific elections? Young people need to understand that it should not be about the title but rather the responsibility they will have as leaders.
When young people participate, they need to be responsible for their actions and decisions. They need to demonstrate how differently they can lead the country and take lead in making the decisions on the direction the country should take.”
Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, Gulu District Chairperson