YOUTH FOR PEACEFUL ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN - Foundation Office Uganda and South Sudan
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On the first day, young political leaders where trained on the history, causes and theories/practices of electoral peace and violence. The second event was a public dialogue on the following day in which youth political leaders conveyed a special message on electoral violence through a communiqué that was presented on behalf of the youth wings of the seven major political parties in Uganda.
Laying the workshop foundation, Mathias Kamp, the Country Representative of KAS reiterated the relevance of the IYOP and KAS relationship noting that the platform’s uniqueness and ability to bring young political leaders from across the political divide is a sign for a genuine democratic consolidation in Uganda. Donnas Ojok, the new programme officer facilitated the first session which explored some of the fundamental underpinnings of electoral violence. He expounded on the inter-linkages between democracy, peace and election maintaining electoral process offers the widest and best avenue to promote peace and democracy given the premium it places on popular participation.
Yusuf Kiranda, a good governance expert explored the role of youth in ensuring peace by first warning that in the instance of any electoral violence, there is no winner and every is a loser – but most importantly, the youth losses more than anyone else because violence destroys the future and young people are the future. But he also called upon major stakeholders especially the government to play a pivotal role in this peace process by putting in place and ensuring effective administrative and logistical arrangements at all stages of the electoral process. A special communiqué on peaceful elections was drafted and discussed by IYOP members during the workshop.
During the public dialogue held at Hotel Africana in which 150 youth from across the political spectrum attended, the panel-plenary conversation explored the perspectives of peace from all political parties through their youth representatives who were part of the panel. The most striking issue that emanated was the need and love for peace by all young people regardless of their political orientation. In fact, when during a plenary session, one participant started preaching the gospel of violence by pointing out that the current government can also be removed by barrel of the gun, he was booed and left frustrated by the audience. This showed how determined young political leaders are towards ensuring a peaceful electoral process.
The public dialogue was climaxed by a special reading of the IYOP Communique on Peaceful Elections.