Throughout history, young men have been used as the heart of political parties – acting as both young democrats and militant wing. Lately, women also went aboard. They sustained the political parties’ “lives” while out of power, and worked to celebrate with it in power.

Uganda young people were critical in the struggle for independence. Through political parties like Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and Kabakka Yekka (KY), they relentlessly advocated to free Uganda of foreign rule.

Their energetic selves and ability to take risks helped in organizing and executing political rallies in the country side, and made strategic alliances that ensured success of the independence bid. Those who engineered the struggle were young charismatic Ugandan youth. They managed successful political rallies that readied Ugandans for independence.

In the pre-colonial times, the youth were providers of security to the community or kingdoms. Political parties today too could be banking on the youth to mobilize other others, rally majority support to it, and in protection of votes against rigging.

UPC had the youth league, while the rest Uganda People’s Movement (UPM) and Democratic Party (DP) -where themselves, the youth. Upon dissatisfaction from the 1980 elections, UPM and DP young men and women went to the Bush -fight UPC out of power.

And because of the youth power, among other things, UPM turn National Resistance Movement (NRM) and DP were victors in a war against an elected government of Late A.M. Obote, and together formed a government -famously referred to as broad-based government.

Perhaps, Busoga support for a young Kyabazinga could be of much value in as far as development and putting across kingdom pertinent issues is concerned. As a youthful Kyabazinga, he could want to see, for- example, all kingdom property controlled by it and helping register Busoga presence at local and international scene. And, at the same time uniting Busoga for development actions.

Kyabazingaship too should be able to attract foreign visitors -resultant from its influence. And signing and ensuring common protective policies with other kingdoms that would preserve the integrity of Busoga. This would be the true sense of the return and presence of tradition institutions in Ugandan rather than a mere conversation about it.

Unlike with the elderly politicians, who struggle to preserve status quo, for the youth would think and act for reform, rather than sit to “baby sit” hands. They would always want to search and experiment new political or leadership ideas and implement them to meet sky-rocketed visions. Also, they would be out and forth to defend their political party goals, and even want to sacrifice life in the process.

They would be highly strategic in either finding their way into government or consolidating political party’s rule. And they could want to do anything to that effect -be it rigging elections violence and intimidation, formation of coalitions, and power- sharing -in case of general elections.

Mass youth political pressure could be so powerful that no tear gas could easily break them down. They always have their country at heart -and are willing to struggle up to the last minute. 2011, for example, would come as an opportunity for political victory of the youth. This gives them an earliest period to take action. People say knowledge is power, but in this case, the youth are a power, and must exercise it.

But success of youth movements would also depend on the health organizational structures of their political parties -that answers questions about flexibility to changing times, whether it easily deals with external pressures or challenges, whether it has able widely acceptable leadership (internal democracy), whether it carries out periodical survey about its strength and carry out necessary checks, and above all; whether it is impermeable to allow the youth demonstrate their leadership potential

The DP is one party that relishes the youth as its vehicle into the future, voluntarily defend party goals, express and demonstrate their political rights -and on behalf of Ugandans -while, also, speaking for the voiceless. These unique features are no where in other parties. Most political parties in Uganda are comfortable with old folks and do anything to suffocate the youth’s influence.

The NRM that could follow DP in that regard is like a person who hosts a visitor, but does not allow him or her cross the door to a sitting room. Rather, chooses to have any entertainment with them, in the compound.

And the youth usually get come in response for war drums -when Kizza Besigye makes a shock political pose to the regime. Unlike DP -where youth act voluntarily, in NRM, they are paid. This is not sustainable. This, still, presents DP as the most youth friendly party. It is capable of taking its youth for a meeting as far as the bedroom.

For Forum for Democratic change (FDC), the youth presence therein is like in boxing -where after a long of one being undisputed champion as if no more challenger left, people get bored and begin disliking the whole state of affairs.

Luckily, one man stands up and says, “Come and see. Come on and support me. I am going to fight and defeat this man. Hey! Come and check out.” This is how the youth might have ended up in FDC.

It seems from the strategic alliance made shortly before independence, DP chaps thought nothing of value about it -whilst boasting of popularity in the mainly central Ugandan and some parts of eastern Uganda.

It seemed as though the thinking was that one -who was victor in central would take it all. The subject of coalitions, therefore, remains alien to them. It is no surprise, there fore, that they are now not subscribing to it.

On the other hand, where arms would involved, the youth are capable of wrecking havoc, terrorizing masses, triggering mass killings, maiming and raping, destruction of infrastructure and taking country to several years back from the current level of development. Observers say Uganda is over thirty years behind Malaysia and Indonesia in as far as their development levels are concerned.

Moreover, It would be more likely for young men to have unlimited power in the running of government. There fore, dictatorship could be more from them than out of youth category (elderly) -where a person with initially good intentions turns out to be oppressive and undemocratic.

He could expectedly suspend the constitution and rule by decree. Life presidency would, actually, begin here with the youth -and with nepotism, as though a monarch. It can be observed that future dictators might have taken the throne as youths. At this stage and with addiction to power along the reign, a return to democratic rule could be more a dream than reality. Anarchy and apathy could, then, be the ultimate.

They could be very unpredictable -who would with ease shift away from one ideology to another depending on what political youth peers or night dreams say. And implementation would be by decree.

The shift across political ideology by youths -whose political parties are out of power, could also as popular as to defect from one political party to another -where there is more youth friendliness.

The main worry with young people could be that they are opportunistic. Their ambitions are usually a combination of intuition, partly in response to adolescent changes -with desire for identity. Economic reason would be the other -something that has to do with need for employment. For them, they are always ready to take on the challenges and chances.

Waiswa Jacob
Community Psychologist
+256774336277 or 0754890614

Author: Jacob Waiswa
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