Jinja Ghetto Youth Assured of Support to Fight Poverty 

Faruk Kirunda, the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary, has pledged Jinja City's slum youth of the government's support after they disclose illegal acts.

Faruk Kirunda, the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary, has pledged Jinja City’s slum youth of the government’s support after they disclose illegal acts.

Over the weekend, he addressed more than 300 rehabilitated ghetto youngsters from Jinja City’s Northern Division in Budondo, Mafubira, Bugembe, Namulesa, and Wakitaka at a ceremony organized by Jinja City Deputy RCC in charge of Northern Division Lydia Kalemera at St John’s Wakitaka SS.

This comes after ghetto youth leaders identified dozens of challenges, including police violence, a lack of capital, and segregation by state workers who keep them out of poverty-relief programs like Emyooga and PDM, among others.

They also accused the police of stereotyping them by constantly detaining and incarcerating them on fabricated charges simply because they had dreadlocks, even when they have not been seen at any crime sites.

“It’s as if we aren’t citizens; they raid our homes or seize any of us with dreadlocks, which have become synonymous with bad character to them, for crimes committed elsewhere,” they all said.

In response, Mr. Kirunda, whom they continued referring to as their buddy, advised them against sheltering fugitives wanted by security services for crimes, claiming that the police would be forced to choose them as collaborators.

On a more positive note, Mr. Kirunda, who is well-liked and respected in Busoga, promised the ghetto youth government help, but cautioned that this could only be done after a formal interaction with stakeholders.

“Forget about individual handouts; instead, clean up your house and develop clear leadership structures that will connect the government and your respective groupings,” he added.

The principal guest, Presidential Assistant-Special Operations Maj. Emma Kutesa, stated that the ghetto is not something to be proud of because the people who live there are usually victims of circumstances.

“Try your best to have a mindset change and work hard to kick poverty out of your life and family so that you can get out of the ghetto where fate has thrown you as opposed to complacency,” Maj.Kutesa said.

Maj. Kutesa, who speaks and understands ghetto slangs such as dog (for babies) and beere (for girlfriend or wife) and has worked with similar groups in Kampala, advised them against reckless lives of substance abuse, sexual immorality, and disrespect for leaders.

“Do the right thing, be and remain healthy, do not allow yourselves to be used by some selfish people, avoid petty gifts of handouts from some shrewd politicians, and support the government,” Maj. Kutesa encouraged.

Ms. Kalemera, the host, who received a standing ovation from the skimpily and shabbily dressed youngsters (both males and females), provided a brief history of the Division, which has the highest crime rate in Jinja City.

The soft-spoken Kalemera stated that convincing the ghetto kids to reform will require the united efforts of all stakeholders such as the Police, Crime Intelligence, Army, partner RCCs/RDCs from the area, friendly politicians, elders, and opinion leaders.

“We could not have done it alone to persuade these young citizens, the majority of whom have always been opposed to the leaders here due to a lack of proper information,” she said.

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