Saturday, December 31, 2016

#Uganda's dictator #Museveni's ticking bomb - 10 million unemployed youth


Uganda’s future lies in harnessing the power of our restless youth

Access to education is laudable but we need quality education. In the technology era foundational skills must include capacity to operate computers. The current policy by government to reduce its investment in public universities is a recipe for disaster.
By Norbert Mao
Recently, an embarrassing episode unfolded on our television screens when the launch of the National Youth Policy turned into a riot.
The young people who gathered at Serena Hotel for the occasion disrupted the proceedings and threatened to lynch Youth minister Nakiwala Kiyingi and permanent secretary Pius Bigirimana. It is the police that held off the irate youth.
The youth had been told that President Museveni would preside over the launch and thus enhance the stature of the policy document. When they were told that Museveni would not come and instead had delegated first deputy premier Kirunda Kivejinja to represent him, the young people felt insulted. They raided the platform and took over the podium.
Others fell on the floor and feigned death. Others pranced around the hall wailing as if they were bereaved. The ousted dignitaries huddled in a corner of the platform looking like rain-drenched cats.
All attempts at damage control by the youth ministry officials have done nothing to change the perception that policies relating to the youth are confused and youth organisations are rudderless. This is but a tiny symptom of the time bomb we are sitting on if we don’t prioritise youth issues. Almost 80 per cent of Uganda’s population consists of people below the age of 35.
More than half of Uganda’s population are below the age of 15. Uganda has the second highest population growth rate in the world after Niger. If we are to achieve middle income status by 2020 and also achieve the Vision 2040 we have to focus like a laser on the youth of Uganda.
It is not enough to have token representatives of youth in Parliament and local councils. We have to be intentional about what we do to put the youth at the centre of our national development planning.
When people are crippled by ill health their preoccupation is to get better. To overcome the ailments weighing them down. It is healthy people who can pay attention to things like gainful work, supporting a family and education.
Local governments have to initiate and enforce policies that prevent diseases. Preventive medicine is the only hope for Uganda’s public health sector. About 70 per cent of the public health expenditures are on preventable disease. Mosquito nets, pit-latrines and clean water will drastically reduce incidence of disease among our people.
On nutrition, we have our staple foods that are at the risk of extinction due to the aggressive incursion of foreign backed genetically modified seeds. The health of our nation will improve greatly if we preserve our indigenous staple foods that have maximum nutritional content.
Access to education is laudable but we need quality education. In the technology era foundational skills must include capacity to operate computers. The current policy by government to reduce its investment in public universities is a recipe for disaster.
In order for Uganda to have qualified corporate and political leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists and teachers government should invest in public universities.
I disagree with the view that our youth are lazy and unwilling to work. On the contrary, our youth have shown that they have the creativity and resilience to achieve economic success. What we need is enhance good governance, fight corruption, invest in spreading digital technology. Youth is a season for equipping oneself with vital skills. During one’s youth one is bold and fearless. One is not afraid of failure. Bill Gates was 19 when he founded Microsoft.
Apple’s Steve Jobs was 21 when he launched his daring venture. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook at 21! These achievers made breakthroughs because of an enabling environment. Likewise Uganda has to invest in the youth so that they get the future they deserve.
The youth need inspirational role models and mentors. They need to develop good habits and not become Hollywood copycats. As Ali Mazrui wrote: “We borrowed the profit motive, but not the entrepreneurial spirit. We borrowed the acquisitive appetites of capitalism but not the creative risk taking. We are at home with Western gadgets but are bewildered by Western workshops.
We wear the wristwatch but refuse to watch it for the culture of punctuality. We have learned to parade in display, but not to drill in discipline. The West’s consumption patterns have arrived but not necessarily the West’s technique of production.”
DAILY MONITOR

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