Community, Diaspora and Immigration

Be ideological, Ugandan youth advised

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The bible says in 1Timothy 4.12 “Let no one despise you because of your youth”. Don’t allow anyone to despise you. Be able to present ideas.


I gave this speech at a recent youth leader’s conference in Munyonyo and I am happy to share it with the Promota’s readers.

Like anyone, it is my wish at this old tender age to enjoy life and be governed well as my natural right.  

Uganda has had more than its fair share of bloodshed.  We bear witness to the dramatic changes the youth have brought about in the Maghreb region, North Africa and the Middle East. Uganda has the youngest population, the highest youth unemployment and some of the greatest opportunities in the World, however only about 1% of Ugandans are above 60 years and has the lion’s share of power!  Nevertheless there are vast opportunities in Uganda.

In the present set-up of our new found and developing democracy there is an urgent need for the youth to unite and take charge of political affairs of the country.  Youth should be utilized positively in order to make Uganda even more prosperous, positively and patriotically.

The youth have the power to present a new face of Uganda in the global market and talent to make Uganda a developed country. We must understand that a nation can only progress on young and innovative minds. It’s the duty of every Ugandan family to motivate and promote their children to come forward and develop Uganda.

Winston Churchill said “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind”.
We are very busy blaming NRM but they have tried to uplift the general environment for the youth to thrive. Uganda was the first to initiate youth representation in the Legislative Assembly. A multi-billion northern Uganda youth centre is nearing completion in Gulu, with funding from the Government and the Commonwealth.  In addition, the Government is searching for a suitable site to locate a permanent home for the National Youth Council.

The responsibility of the youth is to position themselves; have the right education; ask the right questions; demand the right policies; determine the right leaders and have a positive and patriotic attitude about Uganda and only then can they be able to harness the opportunities that the country presents them.

In order to make opportunities possible, however, all the youth should leave behind the limitations inherited by the past. Anyone currently seeking leadership in Uganda and not having sleepless nights planning for the youth is probably unfit for the job and will end up on the rubbish heap of history.

Note carefully that nobody deserves a place at the leadership table just because he/she is young. Nobody should invite you just because you are young. As youth, don’t allow anybody to make you travel on a low road so that they can reach a high office. Don’t allow people to approach you with nothing to offer but tribalism, regionalism etc and then ride your back to high office. Why should anyone ride on your back anyway? As someone said “a man cannot ride your back unless it’s bent.” So straighten your back. To go to high places you must have ideas. You must be idealistic.

Martin Luther King led the greatest revolution of the 20th century in America aged 27. He had passion and ideology. He had a message of equality and a method of non violence.  We have had many other African great men like Kwame Nkurumah who in his mid thirties led the struggle for freedom in Ghana. Not only did he get Ghanaian independence, he formed OAU and fought for the total liberation of Africa. He had a message and a method.  Nelson Mandela gave up his youth for South Africa, freed black people from bondage and white people from prejudice. He had a message and a method, I can go on.

The youngest billionaire is the founder of face book; Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were teenagers when they started the computer revolution. Society is changed by people with a message and a method; you too can do it in Uganda.

Kennedy said “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” So please be responsible. Think of what you can give Uganda not what you can take from it. Be idealistic; produce an idea, for there is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come. 

I must confess I sometimes sympathize with this sentiment of us old people giving way. You find someone was already old when they fought for independence and are still in position of authority. Worse, you find people sleeping in cabinet or parliament; Ministers or officials interfering with professional oversight bodies; people engaged in massive corruption holding high office and nobody is doing anything about it.

When I look at you, I see an enthusiastic, handsome/beautiful and young group. However, should I trust you as my majority share holders? Will you ensure that our company Uganda will make a profit, employ more youths and be a happy country to live in for everyone who comes to our Pearl of Africa? The ball is in your court.


Food for thought

Elly Karuhanga
Partner | Kampala Associated Advocates & Honorary Consul of the
Republic of Seychelles | President of Tullow Uganda

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