The 4th National Youth Parliament has passed four crucial motions that the 11th Parliament will debate and adopt.
In remarks to the National Youth Parliament sitting on Friday, 17 September 2021 in the Chamber, the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, encouraged the youth to stay focused.
“Whatever you do, never lose the focus of the interest of the people God has entrusted to you. When debating you need to speak not on statistics but on what you know because then, you shall be speaking from the heart not the brain and that is how we gain support,” he said.
The Speaker added, “I do not believe that you are future leaders because you are leaders already. The struggle begins from where you are – that is your frontline and use it to extend the frontiers that you will use to address the challenges you face.”
Though the Youth Parliament debated several motions, the four that were passed include a motion urging the government to address the spiralling teenage pregnancies and their implications on the girl-child education and their social entrepreneurship and another motion urging the government to urgently address the reproductive health challenges faced by the young people amidst the COVID-19.
The third motion tasked the government to put into place post-COVID recovery measures for the economic transformation of young people including decent jobs, livelihood, and employment opportunities with the fourth motion urging the government to urgently address issues affecting the youth in business and support them to recover from the crisis presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ruth Namutebi, in speaking to her motion said, “Many cases of teenage pregnancies due to the closure of schools, have been reported and this is because of the COVID -19 pandemic. When we talk about sexual reproductive health rights, it is important to note that 25 per cent of girls became pregnant by age 19,”
She noted that defilement and rape cases had increased due to manipulation, cross generational sex and transactional sex for pads. “It is our time to act and not just speak. Why should condoms be free yet the young girls have to go through transactional sex to be able to get pads?” she asked.
She added, “The government needs to make safe spaces where the girls can talk about cases of incest and rape without being considered obscene.”
Prisca Akello said that as much as government says the girl-child has to return to school after delivery, it may not be practical.
“The problem at hand is the girl’s mind-sets have already been damaged so they cannot return to school as they are more concerned about their children and health problems like fistula. The government should find a way of helping with depression and mental health issues,” Akello said.
Allan Arinawe Webare said that the focus was on the girl-child and not the culprits. “The talk is about the girl-child who is pregnant and yet the culprit is walking free. Why have the men not been arrested? The government needs to put up stringent laws so that the men taking advantage of these girls are brought to book,” Arinawe said.
The National Youth Representative Female in the 11th Parliament, Hon Phiona Nyamutoro, commended the youth for taking interest in matters of national importance.
Prior to the sitting, the Youth Parliament elected its leadership with Ezra Ambasize as Speaker and Halima Asina as Deputy Speaker.
The Clerk to Parliament, Hon Adolf Mwesige Kasaija, told the delegates that the National Parliament was preparing them for greater horizons as leaders.