Faraja Africa Foundation conducted this year’s first regional Youth Parliament in Masaka district on June 20, 2022, at Muteesa 1 Royal University. The attendance of youth leaders in this region showed eagerness to fully participate in the motions that were to be debated on. All the regional Youth Parliaments were funded by the European Union and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH under the German government.
The Youth Parliament couldn’t proceed without first electing a speaker. The nominees were Zahara Nalubyayi and Festo Kato. After a tight election process, Zahara emerged as the winner with a total of 35 votes defeating Festo Kato who garnered only 14 votes. With the Speaker elected, the house dived straight into its first motion which was “Urging the government to facilitate skills development for young people in order to solve the problem of unemployment.”
The motion caused a heated debate in the house because one of the major issues facing the youth in Uganda today is nothing other than unemployment. As stated by Festo Kato, “Over 40% to 60% of the youth in Uganda are unemployed.” Our education system focuses more on theoretical knowledge and when the youth finally graduate from university, they don’t have the confidence to apply the knowledge they acquired in school. That’s something that the government can look into so that young people can gain more practical skills while in school and be able to apply those skills in the workplace.
Some of the participants who gave in their submissions during the debate claimed that it’s not the government’s problem for the youth to be unemployed. They argued against the motion saying that it’s the youth’s sole responsibility to be job creators rather than job seekers. The youth shouldn’t wait for the government to give them jobs but should instead be proactive enough to use their creativity, talents, and skills to come up with business ideas that can enrich them.
However, other young people in the house supported the motion by saying that government should give them jobs because they pay taxes and the government should use that money to create jobs for them. They went further by saying that due to the current high costs of commodities in the country, the taxes to be paid have increased and yet most of them are still unemployed.
The big question from the youth to the government was, “Where does our money go?” Of course, some of the youth were complaining about how government officials simply use the citizens’ money to enrich themselves. A recent example that was given was the Ugx 40m that was given to Members of Parliament in an economy where the average Ugandan is crying of high commodity prices.
The debate showed how brilliant these young people are and also speaking matters from the heart. We believe that majority of the youth being unemployed in Uganda is part of the government’s responsibility because young people are the leaders of today and tomorrow and if they’re not provided with the necessary skills that can put them in positions of power and curb unemployment, then where is the Pearl of Africa heading to?