Youth Accuse Officials of Politicizing Government Programs

Youth from Nakawa Division during the celebrations to mark belated International Youths Day at Nakawa Division headquarters on October 20, 2023. PHOTO/COURTESY

Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | Youth and leaders in Nakawa Division have accused government officials of introducing political biases in the implementation of government empowerment programs like Emyooga, Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP), and the recent Parish Development Model (PDM).

During the belated International Youth Day celebrations held on October 20 at Nakawa Division headquarters, Mr. Godfrey Luyombya, Speaker of Nakawa Division, disclosed that his office has documented cases where young people are questioned about their political beliefs during registration for government programs. Many of those affiliated with opposition parties have been denied access to government funds.

“Government should work for all, regardless of their political affiliation. Yet, in Nakawa, many youths are denied access to empowerment funds due to their support for the opposition, which is unfair,” Mr. Luyombya emphasized. He added that this political selection of beneficiaries is a significant reason why these government programs are not progressing, as people perceive the funds as rewards for supporting the ruling NRM party.

The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) area is one of the underperforming regions in implementing government empowerment programs. For instance, only Shs1.2 billion has been recovered out of the Shs4.6 billion YLP funds distributed under KCCA.

During the same event, Mr. Ronald Balimwezo, the MP for Nakawa East, urged the government to focus on equipping youth with skills rather than simply providing financial assistance. He stressed the importance of youth skills development and quality education.

Mr. Balimwezo also reiterated the need to report any public officials involved in the mismanagement of government empowerment funds, calling for criminal cases and corruption charges against them.

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State Minister for KCCA and Metropolitan Affairs, Mr. Kabuye Kyofatogabye, serving as the chief guest at the ceremony, emphasized that it is illegal for any public officer to politicize government’s empowerment programs. He encouraged affected individuals to report such cases directly to his office. He also emphasized the value of education and the need for youth to acquire skills and work hard while waiting for government assistance.

In response to the concerns raised by the youth in Nakawa:

Mr. John Paul Mawejje highlighted the language barrier issue, as government officers often use English when sensitizing young people about government programs. This leaves many less-educated youth excluded from the programs.

Ms. Annet Nakulima shared her experience of being denied membership in the PDM Sacco due to her support for an opposition group called People Power. Other Sacco members were concerned that her involvement might hinder their access to funds.

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