Community, Diaspora and Immigration
Yahaya kiyingi – Young Ugandan rising in the political realm of British politics
This young, slick, Ugandan born, lib dem “whizzkid” is tipped to be the youngest parliamentary candidate in the next general elections.
The 20 year olds family moved to the UK from Uganda when he was barley four years old. He grew up in inner city London, battling all the odds to gain a place to study politics at a Russell group university. He says that he chose to study politics because it upsets him when he see the “lack of political enthusiasm” within his generation “I fear that unless more young people stand up and are allowed to participate in politics at a higher level, we will have a whole lost generation which passively hands power to anyone who looks the part without considering their vision and their plan for our communities.”
The young Yahaya Kiyingi was already set to be a rising star even before he had completed his GCSE’s. At the age of 16 he had set up his own local magazine, and was sitting on the local party executive board as a youth and student representative. At the age of 17 he became an approved parliamentary candidate even before he was legally eligible to stand for parliament. At 18 he was enrolled onto the elite party leadership programme, a very selective programme designed only for the most promising parliamentary candidates the party has to offer. Earlier this year he gave an electrifying speech at party conference in front of a packed arena and the deputy prime minister. Conference was blown away by the Londoners heartfelt and incredibly delivered rally speech about Liberalism, opportunity and the next generation.
Yahaya talked about his family moving from Uganda to London, growing up in one of the poorest areas of his borough, but aspiring to where he is today through the principles of opportunity and empowerment.
Everyone, starting with the Deputy Prime minister Nick Clegg wanted to meet him and sing his praises afterwards, and as Deputy party leader Simon Hughes MP told conference “You are why we are in politics Yahaya”.
He says politics has really changed his life and has taken him places he would never have dreamed of. Asked, what has been his highlight so far, he quickly replies, “Lunch with President Clinton which I was personally invited to.” It is clear that this young “future leader” has laid the foundations for himself, but he remains humble in saying that his biggest inspiration has been his mother. He says, “my mother has always supported my political involvement but has also kept me grounded. She never lets me forget where we came from.” It is clear that his mother and father have groomed him well, despite having grown up in the UK, virtually all his life, he still speaks fluent Luganda, and readily indentifies with his Ugandan roots, pointing out, “I’m a proud member of the Ndiga clan”.
He has already assembled a strong team to fight the Tottenham seat in 2015, for which he is expected to be selected for later this year. His hope is to engage in a radical campaign – engaging those who showed how distanced they are from politics and the community in the 2011 UK Riots. “I don’t look to my candidacy as merely for political office but, more than anything, I looking to start a conversation, a debate, a movement. I want people to look at me after 2015 and say, that guy stood for something”
At first glance, this tall, dark and skinny, young man, does not fit the image of a typical British Politician and it is easy to discount him, but there is no doubt that after speaking to him, his eloquence, manner and vision puts him firmly in position to make it anywhere in Whitehall.