Uganda’s problems, which include young unemployment, corruption, and poverty, have been extensively blamed on the country’s leaders. In order to provide solutions and establish the groundwork for meaningful future leadership, 200 student leaders from throughout the country gathered at the Grand Global Hotel in Makerere for a three-day National Students And student Leaders’ Empowerment Summit.
The summit, themed “Rooting Patriotic Student and Youth Leaders for National Peace, Unity, and Progress,” aims to provide youth leaders with actionable knowledge through mentorship, empowerment, and inspiration.
The State House Comptroller, Ms. Jane Barekye, who was represented at the summit by the Director for Presidential Projects and Industrial Hubs, Eng. Raymond Kamugisha, highlighted the need for the young generation to yearn and seek information if they are to benefit from the various government projects aimed at youth empowerment.
Eng. Kamugisha, State House Comptroller, remarked in her speech, “It is through skills that our country can be transformed, and the government has put in place several skilling programs that the youth can access regardless of whether they are educated or not.”
At the same event, Captain Mike Mukula, NRM Vice Chairperson- Eastern Uganda, advised the youth leaders to keep focused and drive this country and the African continent as a whole to self-sufficiency. He stated that Africans alone can bring solutions to African problems, and it is the job of leaders to encourage the public to participate.
“I want you to know, young people, that the African continent is experiencing a renaissance, and if we don’t come together as Africans and find a way of uniting as well as identifying Africa’s problems, which include imperialism and neocolonialism, we will not be in charge of our continent’s future.” As Africans, we must exercise our capacity and self-determination. “No African will be respected in the world unless Africa comes out to liberate itself and become politically and economically powerful,” Captain Mukula stated.
Captain Mukula also underlined the importance of the public looking beyond politics and white-collar employment to earn a living, highlighting the private sector as a significant contributor to empowerment and job development. He stated that leadership is not limited to politics and that one may be a leader in the commercial sector and significantly contribute to national progress.
Ruth Katushabe, Senior Presidential Advisor for Political Affairs, praised the youth leaders for taking action and planning for the future, noting that the majority of political figures are products of prior youth leadership regimes.
“Someone mentioned transition; the transition has begun.” We used to hear presidential advisors who were quite elderly, but now our age is entering the picture. That implies we can advise the President on our issues because we are more knowledgeable about them. That is why we have arrived. Most people think of the big office when they think about transition, but you can’t move to the big office if you’re not prepared,” said Ms. Katushabe.
She also encouraged the youth leaders to stay focused regardless of their parents’ socioeconomic situation, using an example of how she was born to a lame father and a blind mother but was aided by her parents’ social capital to obtain an education and subsequently accomplish her leadership aspiration.
The National Students and young Leaders Summit was organized entirely by the young. Guild presidents and Ministers of Gender from universities, as well as the National Youth Council, were among those present.