This Article is written by Hon. Anna Adeke Ebaju, a Member of Parliament representing the National Female Youth Constituency in the 10th parliament.
Last week, during my journey from home somewhere along the borders of Eastern Uganda: a place endowed with beautiful serenity, and an assortment of economic towns which form the backbone of this nation’s agricultural and industrial progression, I eavesdropped on a conversation between some of the many young people wrung within the squeeze in a bus to Kampala.
These young people, chatting in solid tone about their schedule of how they were going to arrive in Kampala, buy merchandise and head back to Soroti to meet the crazy demand from their customers struck me as an indicator of an unweathering resilience. They spoke in local language meaning they were proud Pan Africanists, and despite the uncomfortable squeeze their jovial mood, illuminated the value of an entirely conflict free society.
Usually, conflict is born out of deprivation; the deprivation might be of economic, social or political freedoms/means of others by some. Where one person has an edge or asserts superiority over an equal, such that they are not bound to face the same risks in harnessing a similar course to prosperity, there is bound to be conflict.
In our country and in many fields economic, political or social, the differences we tolerate basing on our gender, our ethnicity and faiths are major sources of conflict.
Take an example of our patrilineal cultures which have prevented a majority of our young girls from harnessing their full potential by condemning them to kitchens and gardens during school time, or by giving them a semblance of education while, unlike the boy child, denying them the necessities which would enable them to thrive. You have essentially placed a hurdle before one human being which is not before another and conflict of sexes therefore arises.
Another example is in our access to economic capital, that while people from other regions have well developed institutions to enable them invest in their dairy farms, others in other regions don’t have the same opportunity to access capital and commercialize their sorghum/millet farms. There is inequality and between those two regions, conflict is bound to arise.
In a country such as ours where there is an annual reported improvement in GDP but the majority of the youthful and female citizens continue to grow poorer, there is bound to be conflict. Political ideology ceases to make sense, and your economic policies are no longer welcome because the angered population believes that they shall only work for a few.
These policies to them are not meant for them. The yielding majority desperation later culminates into vitality for revolution.
Drawing from the experiences of the Parkland Community in Florida to the Arab spring, a revolution for social, economic change carried by youths and women is indomitable.
The events in those states make the statement that in young nations with undemocratic leaderships and economically incredible systems, disgruntled youths populations are the newest link in today’s long chain of for social change across the globe. Youths formed an unprecedented part in the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and now Sudan.
Frustrated by things such as police corruption, economic inequality, human rights violations; youths and women can ignite waves in quest for change turning areas like Constitutional Square into monumental sites of struggle.
We have invested a lot of effort in making our government aware that young people need to take charge of their own situation. They need to be employed more in government, represented more in parliament. They are the ones demanding for better healthcare, education curriculum, transparent democracy, land, tax and economic justice but like “Flash” the lazy Sloth in “Zootopia”, the cry has fallen on deaf ears. Youths are tired of thinking that they don’t have a future.
Our government forgets that on a forum such as in that bus where these young people equally confronted the same risks in their ventures, there is bound to be peace and prosperity.
Let no one tell you that when you are given a mattress you can’t ask for a bed. Our youths should each demand for better services.