60 years of Independence: Youths reflect on gains, challenges

Uganda marked 60 years of Independence on October 9, an occasion that was marked with pomp and flair all over the country. The YouthBlitz sounded out a number of youth on what they think young people have achieved over these years and the challenges that remain. Here are their responses.

Katamba Hamza, 19, student

As a young man, I think youths have achieved a lot in the 60 years of independence. Many young people are leaders and are involved in business. This is a sign that they are being recognized for their work. The only challenge is finding jobs. Many young people have studied but have no jobs. That is what government should improve.

Joan Mukwasi, 21, businesswoman

I was born in the early 2000s so I really can’t tell what the situation of the youth was in the 1960s, 70s or even 80s. But what I see now is some form of progress Many young people today have started businesses which are doing well. And as a woman, I believe we have made a lot of strides. The Vice President is a woman, the Speaker is a woman, the Prime Minister is a woman. For me the major challenge for young people is believing in themselves. Government can’t do everything for us. We need to have self belief.

Zaina Namukwaya, 27, journalist

As someone who works at a radio station, I think there is some progress for the youths in the last 60 years. Youths now have many platforms to express their opinions like radio stations, newspapers, social media. Secondly, youths determine who wins many of the leadership positions because they constitute the largest bloc of voters. The biggest challenge that youths face is unemployment, in my view. I have so many friends I went with to school but they have no jobs.

Sam Opendun, 30, politician (LCIII councilor, Namugongo division)

Young people have made a lot of strides in the last 60 years. The youths now have representatives in government and at the local government levels. This means that their voice is heard and they have a say in decisions that affect society. I don’t know whether this was the same situation long ago but I can say that young people today have a voice. The key challenge is that some are used and dumped by older politicians. Secondly there are few jobs for young people.

Angella Kasirye, 24, student

Young people have a lot of opportunities today unlike in the past. Today many youths are self employed because of advances in technology so you can say they moved. Secondly today unlike 60 years ago, there were not many young people in positions of leadership. Politics was dominated by old men and women. Of course the major challenge remains jobs. There are many young people who have no jobs and need to work.

Isaac Muhabwe, 29, businessman

In the last 60 years I can say that young people have moved a long distance. Youths are more empowered. Many of them are now educated and therefore know how to read, write and analyse issues. Government has also put in place various programmes to help the young people economically. So in my view here is some movement. The main challenge remains unemployment which has led many young people into vices like drug abuse, petty theft.

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