20 April 2018

Uganda: Commonwealth Youths Press Govts On 6 Issues

Kampala — Youth drawn from 19 Commonwealth (African) member states have passed a six-point resolution at the close of their four-day conference in Uganda.

The 80 youngsters, who convened at the 4th Commonwealth Youths Parliament Summit in Kampala this week, resolved to press their home governments to end rampant cases of sexual harassment, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and improve youth employment.

They also urged their governments to harness youth leadership, address alcoholism as well as HIV/Aids.

The outcome of youth summit, which ran from April 15 to 19, centred on the theme "Securing a better future for Africa: Role of the youth" and will inform the agenda of the 49th regional conference slated for August 2018 in Botswana.

Agenda

The youth focused on social rights, education and skills development; job creation in a sustainable job environment in emerging industries as well as strengthening civic participation and leadership.

Participating countries included Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya and others, with 55 international and 25 local delegates.

Mr Timothy Kadaga from Uganda was elected Speaker and Ms Mary Namaya of Malawi as his deputy.

Ms Helen Mushi of Tanzania was elected Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.

The youth challenged their governments to step up social awareness on all forms of media for the young generation to learn more about the dangers of early sex.

They also expressed concern over what they referred to as a huge youth leadership gap, which they blamed on lack of governments' support to young people to occupy leadership positions across levels.

Ms Mushi argued that the escalating cases of youth unemployment were creating a wasted generation who have chosen the path of criminality for survival.

The youth also called for strengthening of laws aimed at curbing alcoholism and drug abuse.

Several speakers blamed drug abuse among youth on laxity by governments in tackling the vice.

Ms Halima Abu Ali of Nigeria said youth use the substances because they are easily accessed by anyone.

"Young people, especially teenagers, are hardwired to experiment new things and when the opportunity presents itself, most will utilise it," Ms Halima said.

She challenged African states to tighten the existing laws on alcohol and drug abuse to check access to drugs.

The youth also demanded that illicit adverts in the media needed to be regulated.

They tasked governments to arrest increasing cases of teenage pregnancies and HIV/Aids infection rates among young people.

They recommended measures such as increased sex education both by parents and educational institutions.

Key forum

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Jacob Oulanyah, who addressed the youth prior to their deliberations on Sunday, said the conference would expose the young people to the realities of legislation and governance at regional level.

Ms Cecilia Ogwal, the Dokolo Woman MP, cautioned the delegates to be mindful of sporadic Western cultures, especially homosexuality, which she said are a danger to the future of Africa.

Ms Ogwal also warned the youth on the allure of greener pastures in foreign countries, mainly in the Middle East and parts of Europe, which have seen many African youths perished in their journeys across the seas.

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