Opinions

WE NEED NATIONAL ACTION PLAN ON YOUTH PEACE AND SECURITY TO BUILD SUSTAINABLE PEACE IN UGANDA

By Guest Writer

Since independence, Uganda has experienced successive violent conflicts with most regions of the country witnessing conflicts at varying intensities.

These conflicts arise at different levels both at national, regional and at family levels unfortunately most of these conflicts are being led by young people who are always perpetuators and victims of violence.

For example the 2021 November riots in Kampala where we saw youth on forefront of violence and many of them were imprisoned ,some died on spot and others a still missing.

In 2021 general elections a lot of youth showed up to take part in leadership positions which was a good idea but the aspect of peace building was left behind which made most of them  disqualified due to indiscipline, some were very violent and leading demonstrations and all these affected their lives and final results  in the elections.

Due to unemployment, many young people are left with no option and they find themselves being used to cause violence and get paid to survive, some have joined drug abuse, and most of the youth get drunk even in morning hours due to lack of directions from authority.

All these issues are happening in the country but unfortunately less is done to do more awareness and sensitization on peace building and conflict analysis and resolution to build sustainable peace in Uganda.

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Last week I attended a four day boot camp on leadership and peace building in Mubende district which was organized by coalition for action on 1325. This boot camp involved youth from Kyegegwa and Mubende districts and the intention was to see how youth can be brought on board in leadership and peace building processes and be drivers of change in their communities.

During the workshop youth demonstrated that it was their first time to hear about peace building in their 20s and this was a surprise since 78% of the total population are young people who should be put on forefront for success of any process in Uganda.

About 70% of youth in this country don’t know what peace building means and less is done on ground to transfer knowledge on how youth can be part of the movement. For example during the workshop youth was introduced about women peace and security agenda and youth peace and security agenda.

It’s a good news that women peace and security agenda (WPS) has an action plan that is being under implementation but youth peace and security (YPS)is left behind and no one is talking about it.

On 9th Dec 2015, the United Nations Security Council resolution adopted a ground breaking solution on youth peace and security which recognizes the role of young people in maintainace and promotion of international peace and security.

It should be noted that in countries affected by conflicts and violence, young people are always perpetuators or victims of violence. For example the 2021 November riot in Uganda showed the youth leading in the protests and the surge in terrorism and violent extremism have been observed in the past 15years and linked to the role of young men.

In reality the role of young people in relation to peace and security is poorly understood and much more complex than these stereotypes suggests, the youth and peace security agenda had gained momentum in recent years and makes shift in the understanding of who young people are and their role in peace and security.

In Uganda the youth peace and security agenda seems to be still locked in a cupboard and this has left youth unaware of their role and contribution in peace building for sustainable peace in the country.

The ministry of gender labour and social development launched implementation of women peace and security agenda and women are doing a great work on ground when it comes to peace building, conflict analysis and resolution, therefore its high time that the same ministry drafts the national action plan on youth peace and security for youth to play their roles in building sustainable peace in in their areas and country at large.

The civil society organisations should put peace building processes as part of their agendas if we want to build sustainable peace in the country, it should be noted that building peace is an individual responsibility and no development can happen under violence situation.

The government of Uganda through ministry of gender should open up and call upon youth to give their contribution toward the draft of national action plan on youth peace and security and this should be done as early as yesterday for success.

The author is Gerald Barekye {geraldbarekye@gmail.com} the National coordinator young peace builders Uganda under Coalition for Action on 1325 (COACT)

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