US Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac has challenged youth and students in particular to take up the responsibility to drive change in the country.
“The youth ought to value hard work, dedication and teamwork as partners to take responsibility of change in the nation. The future is not lost. It belongs to you, and you have the power to decide what kind of country Uganda will be,” Ambassador Malac said at a Public Administration and Governance symposium on Wednesday.
The Post-Election Symposium on Youth, Democracy and Governance was organised by the Uganda Christian University society and was attended by over 300 students of Political Science and Public Administration from Kyambogo, Makerere and Uganda Christian University. Several political activists also attended the symposium at Hotel Africana.
Deborah Malac was joined in the discussion by former minister Miria Matembe, Makerere’s Dr. Nasozi Mwanga and UCU’s Christopher Twesigye Christopher in the discussion.
“Yes, youth are frustrated. Many fear Uganda may never live up to its potential. But as I have told them, and will tell you now: That is simply not true. Uganda is filled with unlimited potential and energy, and you will be able to achieve great things. I believe it, and I hope you do, too.”
Malac said that despite what she considered democratic set-backs in Uganda, USA will continue to invest in individuals through programs organised under the U.S Mission. Malac said they were concentrating on individuals and NGOs due to mismanagement of funds.
“United States is not going to walk away from the Ugandan people, especially its youth. We will continue to work with you to help build the kind of country you want to see.”
Key remarks by Miria Matembe
“We need transformative leadership as a result of people’s demand. Uganda can be redeemed only by people of integrity, driven purposed, determined and assets in their communities (solve problems).”
“President Museveni is a product of rigged elections that has led to a spirit of fear, hopelessness among citizens. The president promised to get rid of opposition leaders within 5years after he had been won elections isn’t a sign of democracy,”
Key remarks by Dr. Nasozi Mwanga
“Vote buying, voter intimidation, vote and ballot stuffing have become the common features part of election process. Manifestos promise impossibilities, elected candidates aim at gaining state power and victimising public funds. We are ruled under deficit governance that needs to be addressed from different levels like national, regional and district.”
Key remarks by Christopher Twesigye
“It is telling that 40% were unwilling to go and cast their votes beside the 60% that voted. These were ‘Free and fair elections’ characterised by police intimidation, monetisation of elections”
“Youth don’t leave the future of our country to the men and women of yesterday that are in the evening of their lives.”
FULL Remarks for Ambassador Malac
Good afternoon. I am honored and pleased to be here and to join the other guests today for this discussion on youth, democracy and governance. These are crucial issues that matter, not just to me or the United States. The future of Uganda is of course critically important to all of you, as the future leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs of Uganda. I hope today that we can have an open and frank discussion on the state of Uganda’s democracy and governance. I also hope this is the beginning of an ongoing conversation that involves Uganda’s youth and the country’s development.
Let me begin today by talking about the recent elections. I arrived in Uganda just before February 18. I talked with young voters who queued for hours waiting for ballot materials. I saw and heard their frustration.
Many of you here have seen or read the statements either the Embassy or the U.S. government made concerning the elections. In them, we have expressed our serious concerns about the elections and their aftermath.