The 2021 elections are round the corner, and despite the coronavirus pandemic and its effects, many are gearing up for the upcoming elections. But what are the youth’s thoughts and concerns as far as the elections are concerned? Noelyn Nassuuna spoke to four young people who gave their views on Uganda’s political atmosphere.
Emmanuel Okot, 24, student at Uganda Christian University, Mukono
There’s too much talk and less action
“The politics of Uganda is rich because it has people with brilliant ideas but we have failed to unite and develop/steer our country positively. The only problem with our politics is that it is characterised by too much talk and less action. The ruling party should also embrace the opposition and work together so as to reduce the tension. I have met all my leaders from Usuk County and I interact with them freely.
However, the politics of Uganda does not allow me to walk around freely and express my disappointment about the ruling party. I once tweeted about our country’s situation and I was threatened by some people I know. Take a look at MPs Robert Kyagulanyi, Ingrid Turinawe and many more opposition persons.
To improve on the political atmosphere, the government should minimise military deployments during elections or else we are a long way from freedom.
I did not exercise my right to vote during the previous elections because my polling station in Usuk barely received equipment. Voting materials arrived past midday. However, for the upcoming elections, my peers and I are geared up and so excited because we see a big miracle happening. I also plan to contest in future, so you should look out for me.
Edrick Mayengo, 23, Graphics designer , The opposition is full of political comedians
“I have never voted because there was no reason to. I knew that my former candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, stood no chance at all.
I think the political system is completely dead, the ruling party is in charge of all the bodies and dictates how they should perform. We are only seeing a sign since we have a political messiah in Robert Kyagulanyi who has opened the eyes of everyone. I hope that the President can resign and reshuffle the Cabinet so that we can solve the problem of corruption.
I am a graphics designer and I have been able to work for some of the candidates on their campaign materials. I also think other people are gaining and will gain more in 2021 when the political atmosphere heats up.
I spend most of my time on the Internet since that is where I earn and study from. The taxes imposed on the telecom companies are so high. The bundle packages are so expensive that you cannot get creative enough without thinking about where to get money for data. I think the tax on telecom companies should be reduced so that we get data bundles at very affordable prices and I do not mean OTT because that is a small issue for me.
I am from Masaka and Kalangala and the leaders from Masaka are very dormant and are not accessible. They are only waking up in the last year of their campaign.
The leaders from Kalangala, I think, are the most silent. How can we not have a better travel system to the islands up to now? The ferry is down and people are now using small boats. If we had two docking points, this would not have been a problem. Deforestation is rampant that side; I have a lot to say, but maybe it is not the time.
But also the opposition is full of political comedians who have refused to come to a mutual understanding so that we see something different in 2021. I also hope Dr Besigye does not come back or else it will be the same story.
However, I am going to vote in 2021 since every vote is a step towards change.
Lynet Naherwa 21, Student at Uganda Christian University, Mukono
I am interested in our politics only as a citizen
I think the politics of this country is getting off track in the sense that those voted into power deviate from the provisions of their manifestos, hence dragging today’s politics into an undesirable state. I am interested in the politics of Uganda because it concerns me as a citizen. I need to know what is happening in the country. However, for now I do not plan to contest for any position, maybe in the future. I am only challenged by the fact that MPs campaign and promise voters but when they are voted into office, they do not deliver.
“I will ensure that the roads are constructed,” they say. However in my area, Rubaga, the MPs have delivered and constructed roads which make it easy to access services. If you are sick, you can easily access Mengo and Rubaga hospitals.
The political differences in the country also affect us generally and individually. I once missed an important meeting because of the teargas that was in town which was caused by the political differences and unrest at that time and just like that, I missed out on that opportunity.
I am excited to cast my vote for the first time in 2021 because I want to exercise my rights. However, some friends are not excited because they have not appreciated the importance of casting their votes.
Hezlee Kihembo 23, student at Law Development Centre
I do not know how to play dirty
“I have never voted before because I was not registered, therefore I am not eligible to vote. Also, I do not appear on any register despite the fact that I am above 18 years. Uganda’s political atmosphere has both highs and lows. I am not interested in Uganda’s politics and I do not think I can even participate in the politics of this country because they say politics is a dirty game and I do not think I know how to play dirty. Some of the laws in politics that affect me include violation of the right and freedom of expression through the introduction of OTT, which limits the use of social media. It is very expensive for a student like me to pay OTT daily and still buy data. This limits my freedom to use social media.
I cannot come out and say politics has affected me in any way. I am only grateful that I have not tasted tear gas.
However, I believe in the voting process because it is the right of every Ugandan. Unfortunately, most people do not know the leaders in their area. I come from Ntungamo but I do not know who our leaders are. My friends are also willing to participate in the coming 2020 elections because we believe it is our right to fully participate and vote for leaders of our choice. leaders of our choice.