BY EMMANUEL OKOT AND IVAN TSEBENI
Students of Ugandan universities have appealed to institutions to lower the nomination fees for the guild election, to make politics all inclusive.
This plea was made during the Second National Annual Youth Convention held at the Nkoyoyo Hall on 21st March.
The convention ran under the theme, “Commercialised Electoral Politics as a Barrier to Youth Participation”.
“We can’t inclusively participate in politics when even at our universities, nomination fees are very high,” James Ngobi a second-year student of Bachelors of Law from Makerere University said.
The convention, attended by the National Female Youth legislator, Hon. Annah Adeke Ebaju, aimed at finding lasting solutions to commercialised politics.
Ebaju showed her disappointment towards the ruling National Resistance Movement government, which she said was promoting commercialisation of politics.
Ebaju told students that to be nominated to contest for the office of the Member of Parliament, one has to pay sh 3m, which she said is intended to exclude youths from politics.
“You pay the sh3m when you are not even sure whether you will be elected,” Ebaju said.
She called upon the students to start fighting the high costs of nomination and the general commercialisation of politics so as to save this youthful generation from exclusion from politics.
“I am optimistic that this can end, as long as you (students) fight against it, without fear or favour,” Ebaju said.
“The fight should start right from your campuses and then we shall involve the rest of the public.”
She added: “If we say that the biggest population in this country is made up of the youth, why is it that Parliament is not dominated by the youth? There is nothing for us, without us.”
In the same vein, Prof. Lawrence Adam, the Director, Africa Policy Centre (APC), noted that often, due to commercialisation of politics, voices of the youth are ignored, and that the convention is intended to give them a chance to discuss matters that affect them, so as to get solutions.
Frank Ogwang, a student of UCU and the former guild vice-president, said the youth are not economically empowered and that is why most of them always fall prey to politicians.
More than 20 universities attended the convention and the discussion.
Participating universities were Makerere University, Makerere University Business School, Kyambogo University, Kampala International University, Uganda Christian University, Ndejje University, Nkumba University and Multitech Business School, others are Islamic University in Uganda, Muteesa I Royal University, St. Lawrence University, University of Kisubi (UNIK), International University of East Africa, Cavendish University and Uganda Pentecostal University, among others.
Abudrahaman Nabuyaga, a third-year student of Bachelor of Human Resource and Management from Islamic University In Uganda (IUIU) Kabojja campus, drew the audience into a prolonged laughter when he said that at his university, they don’t pay any amount for guild nominations.
But Makerere University students said that they pay as much as sh2m for the nomination to contest for some of the offices.
Emmanuel Mubogi, a first-year student of Bachelors in Agricultural Business from Kyambogo University said they pay sh1.2m to be nominated to contest for some of the position .