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The “Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives” (Think Tank) is an initiative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung to enhance youth participation in governance and policy formulation in Uganda. The Think Tank is a group of 20 highly qualified and committed young Ugandans, who interact and work together on a regular basis to analyze policy issues and develop policy alternatives from the perspective of the young generation. The group members lead by example in the promotion of issue-based and constructive dialogue and debate, adhering to the guiding principles of tolerance and objectivity.
Since it was founded, the Think Tank has conducted extensive research resulting in the development of policy papers on key development topics. The issues which have been addressed include: employment, education, and health. The developed papers are shared with a cross-section of stakeholders where they are presented as policy alternatives from the perspectives of young people.
How elections are designed and delivered is crucial to peace and prosperity and therefore has a direct implication for any country's development. This is all the more relevant to young democracies, where the culture of accountability, transparency, and trust is suppressed by long years of tribal politics, institutional corruption, and entrenched gerrymandering. The credibility and integrity of electoral management bodies in relation to the conduct and outcomes of elections have been at the center of instability and conflicts in most third world economies, with special reference to Africa. The perceived independence of any country’s electoral management body, the transparency in the nomination process of the members of the body, credible safeguards at entry into and exit from the membership of the electoral management body, are indicative of the willingness and ability of a government to organize free, fair and transparent elections.
In Uganda, the management of elections has in the past led to a series of unintended negative consequences, including, but not limited to coup d’états or significant fall outs within the ruling political party, National Resistance Movement (NRM), leading to emergence of the major opposition parties, such as Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). This has led to the drafting of electoral policies and reforms proposed by both government and the civil society. However, the main result of Uganda’s mismanagement of elections has been the current, persistent, and cloud raising reform agenda. Led by civil society, the reform agenda has taken a legal, as well as policy and advocacy perspective, including a draft Electoral Reform Bills prepared by the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU). If passed into law, it will revolutionize the management, conduct and delivery of elections in Uganda as well as significantly contribute to peace, security and development of the country. Against this backdrop, the YLTTPA has carried out research on the necessity of electoral reforms in Uganda from a youth perspective. This will form a basis for an informed policy review and recommendations that are evidence based.
For this reason, a working group on governance was constituted and tasked to carry out necessary research that will culminate into a policy paper that shall be fully developed during the upcoming workshop.