Concerns have arisen in Nakawa Division as both youth and their leaders claim that government officials are introducing political bias into the execution of vital empowerment initiatives such as Emyooga, the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP), and the latest Parish Development Model (PDM).
During the belated International Youth Day celebrations at Nakawa Division headquarters on October 20, Mr. Godfrey Luyombya, the Speaker of Nakawa Division, revealed that his office has recorded numerous instances where young individuals are being inquired about their political leanings during registration for government programs.
As a result, many who align themselves with the opposition have been denied access to government funding.
“Government is expected to serve all citizens, regardless of their political affiliations. Unfortunately, many young people in Nakawa are facing barriers to accessing empowerment funds due to their support for opposition parties,” said Mr. Luyombya.
He went on to emphasize that the political bias in beneficiary selection is a significant factor hindering the progress of government programs, as they are often perceived as tokens of appreciation for supporting the NRM.
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has struggled in implementing government empowerment programs, with just Shs1.2 billion recovered out of the Shs4.6 billion allocated for YLP under KCCA.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Ronald Balimwezo, the MP for Nakawa East, urged the government to focus on providing skills to the youth instead of simply providing financial assistance.
He stated, “The youth are the most valuable resource in our country, but if they lack skills, preparation, and empowerment, Uganda’s future is uncertain. Money alone is insufficient; they need skills and a quality education.”
Mr. Balimwezo also stressed the importance of reporting any public officials who misuse government empowerment funds discreetly, as such actions should be addressed as criminal offenses and corruption.
The state minister for KCCA and Metropolitan Affairs, Mr. Kabuye Kyofatogabye, who served as the chief guest at the ceremony, underscored that it is illegal for any public officer to politicize government’s empowerment programs.
He encouraged affected individuals to report such cases directly to his office.
He added, “All empowerment and poverty alleviation programs, such as YLP, Emyooga, PDM, and KCCA loans, are not provided based on political grounds. I encourage you to follow the correct procedures to access these funds, and if you encounter any challenges, please contact me directly.”