President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has appealed to the youths to desist from embracing a wrong Ideology of sectarianism, religion, and tribes and working for foreign interests.

“If you take that line, you will fail because I have been watching all these years many of the people who came into power at Independence were young people but because they did not address the issue of ideology, that is why we had so many problems in Uganda,” President Museveni said.

The President made the remarks today during the International Youth Day celebrations held at Kigezi High School’s lower grounds in Kabale District. The celebrations ran under the theme: “Accelerating Recovery from Covid-19 And full Implementation of 2030 Agenda: The Role of the Youth”.

International Youth Day is an awareness day designated by the United Nations. The purpose of the day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth. The first IYD was observed on 12 August 2000.

President Yoweri Museveni made his remarks during the International Youth Day celebrations in Kabale on 18th August 2023. Photo by PPU/ Tony Rujuta.

H.E Museveni explained that Tanzania has been stable for all this time because the country’s former leader, Mwalimu Nyerere managed to address the issue of ideology.

“Mwalimu started with a good ideology of Uzalendo of National Patriotism that is why Tanzania has been peaceful all this time,” he emphasized.

The President also urged the youth to observe discipline to protect themselves from the dangers of the youth stage.

“You must reject the temptations of youth because they will add nothing to you.”

He also advised the youth to concentrate on their studies so that they get knowledge and qualifications.

“So, the three words for the youth are discipline, knowledge/skills, and ideology. If you look at those three, I can assure you, you will go far. After that, you should ensure to lead a productive life; don’t lead a life of parasitism by depending on others. Be sure that you can do something,” the President stated.

President Yoweri Museveni touring the stalls where the youth display the works and skills they have acquired in education during the International Youth Day celebrations in Kabale on 18th August 2023. 

“As we have told you, the sectors here in Uganda are four. There’s commercial agriculture and we have told you what to do. Manufacturing is the second sector and I’m glad when I was touring the kiosks there, I saw some of you processing honey, and juice from sugar cane. There were others processing meat, sanitary pads, and paper. Then there are services, some of you are already active in this field. Then ICT, we have jobs in this sector known as Business Process Outsourcing but we also have electronic innovations. We are going to support all these with government funds.”

The President also tipped the youth to join the knowledge economy, saying that this new sector is going to propel the country’s economy further.

“I was having a meeting with our scientists in NARO who have discovered a vaccine against the ticks, we are going to roll it out. Our scientific cadres I don’t have to talk much about them because they know what to do and they are already doing it. They are making electric vehicles, working on electric batteries, and a pathogenic economy. For those, the debt is on the side of the government to give them enough money promptly.”

On the other hand, President Museveni rallied the youth to take part in wealth creation to develop the country.

“We should have a population of wealth creators. This is very crucial for you to understand because you could have a population of leisure seekers. The biggest economy is the USA followed by China and Japan. Japan is a small country with very hardworking people, that is how their country came from defeat in the second world war now among the biggest economies in the world.”

“The economy is doing well but the main problem is corruption among the civil servants and politicians. You should fight it because the youth movement should see those people and expose them. That will be part of your work because you are in the society and see what is happening.”

President Museveni was also happy to note that they have succeeded in getting an investor who will add value to Uganda’s iron ore thus overcoming the problem of exporting the natural mineral unprocessed.

“We have got the best iron ore in the world. The second best is in Peru. For a long time, we have been looking for an investor to build an integrated steel industry to process our iron ore, and we have now succeeded. Those who are trying to export unprocessed iron ore should stop because they are making us lose money and jobs,” he said.

“Also, we are now going to develop a bamboo project in the hills of Rwampara and Isingiro because to make good paper we can use bamboo. We are now importing paper, you can imagine, but we shall make all those papers here and people can grow bamboo and we process it.”

President Yoweri Museveni signed the roadmap towards celebrating the 30 years of the youth council in Uganda 1994-2024 during the International Youth Day celebrations in Kabale on 18th August 2023. 

On the issue of the student loan scheme, President Museveni said, “We support it but the money was not renewed this time because of the temporary problems of Corona and the war in Ukraine but that scheme will be reinstated.”

The President also ordered that the National Youth Council’s budget which was halted, be reinstated.

“I was embarrassed to hear that somebody took the Shs4bn budget away from the Youth Council, it should be brought back. Some of these people are shameless, how could you find somebody with very little and you take it away? It’s not common sense,” he stressed.

President Museveni also commended the United Nations (UN) for their continued support of some programs in Uganda.

The Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi said that International Youth Day is the day they take stock of what they have done as a country in the crusade for the empowerment of the young people and as a government they have been at the forefront of the empowerment of women, youth, persons with disability and other vulnerable groups.

“Due to the impact of Covid-19, a good number of youths dropped out of school and most especially the girls who got pregnant during that time were not able to go back to school so education was interrupted, economic livelihood was interrupted, social economic empowerment programs were interrupted, we saw an increase in gender violence and others which affected the youth largely,” Hon. Amongi said.

“However, Your Excellency, through the intervention of the government, the youth and the people in urban areas were able to be supported in many different ways.”

Hon. Amongi also announced that her ministry will collaborate with that of Education under BTVET as well as the Presidential Industrial hubs to skill the youth and ensure that they get employed. She added that her ministry will ensure that youth empowerment is placed at the center of the government’s intervention.

On behalf of the UN system, Ms. Mary Otieno, the UNFPA- Country Representative, commended the government of the Republic of Uganda as well as the people of Uganda for their continued efforts to secure the future of the young people through various programs.

“More than a half of Uganda’s population are youth and there is a potential momentum for future economic growth once we invest intentionally in critical sectors such as health and education to enable the country to reap a demographic dividend,” Ms. Otieno said.

“This makes young people crucial agents of Uganda’s development goals and vision 2040,” she added.

The National Youth Council chairperson Mr. Jacob Eyeru said the youth play a critical role in the development of any nation since they are the most productive and energetic Labour force.

Mr. Eyeru also requested the President to set up a national program on a regional basis where he will be meeting youth leaders at the regional level to impart them with ideological and wealth creation messages.

He also underscored the need to set up a national youth scheme as a prerequisite to public service.

“People that enter public service to serve Ugandans should have been trained in patriotic discipline and ideology. Sometimes the army guides the training at Kyankwanzi and it does a very good job of instilling good memories in these people of what it means to serve your country. That should not be preserved to only these people in the public service, it should be a breeding ground for all the people, even those who are looking forward to being recruited in public service,” Mr. Eyeru said.

At the same event, President Museveni witnessed the signing of an agreement between the Afro-Arab Youth Council and the government of Uganda, the launch of the UN joint program for adolescents and youth as well as the roadmap for 30 years of existence celebrations of the National Youth Council.

The event was also attended by: the Vice President, H.E Jessica Alupo, the NRM Vice National Chairman, Hajj Moses Kigongo, Ministers, Members of Parliament, Youth Leaders, and Members of the Diplomatic Corps among other dignitaries.