Public policy is not a Government thing as widely perceived. In referring to government, I mean the legislative, executive and the judiciary. It is a You and I thing. In a democracy like Uganda, Public policy is meant to be formulated through extensive and inclusive consultations.
We may say that Government did not consult us before coming up with the 2007 Comprehensive Policy Framework for the next years until 2040. However majority of the time we are caught up in the blame game and Government is always on the other side, with our fingers pointing out outrageously at it. My take on this is that most of us have ignored the varying platforms for inclusive civic participation in politics.
Politics has been left to electives in an electoral process, it has been called a dirty game and many of us have shunned it choosing to focus on our personal goals and forgetting that these very goals we call ‘personal’ are largely affected by the policies in place. Harold Laswell defined politics as the determining process of “who gets what, when and how?” Therefore before you say that you have no interest in politics, keep in mind that in a structure called a State, what you eat, the kind of health services you get, the quality of housing you get are all dependent on the political process in one way or another.
At the recent dialogue with youth in Jinja facilitated by UNIFOG and KAS, it was evident that most youth have not been exposed to the different platforms where their voices can be heard.
While Uganda has a 2040 Policy Plan, we still have space to participate in the implementation, monitoring and even reform of these policies where need be. Here is how you can participate,
a) The National Youth Council
This was established under the National Youth Council Act to inspire and promote a spirit of national consciousness among which includes participation in Policy issues. It has been decentralized and there is a Youth Council at the Village, Parish, Sub-county and District level.
We all reside, work or study in one of these focal points. Being a part of any Youth Council places you in a position to participate in electing or even getting elected as a representative to the National Youth Council. The District Youth Council representatives may then get elected to represent the youth in Parliament.
Although in Kasozi V AG the Court declared the law in force in relation to election of youth unconstitutional, you should learn more about the National Youth Council and make efforts to engage at the Village, Parish, Sub-county or District level. In the following issue, I will address the implications of that case on youth participation in policy issues.
Follow the link to read about the Kasozi v Ag case. <http://www.ulii.org/ug/judgment/constitutional-court/2015/2 >