Local National

Youth urge government to involve them solve unending conflict in Rwenzori

By Alex Baluku

Youth groups have asked government to directly engage them in programs addressing the series of deadly clashes between ethnic communities in Rwenzori Sub-region.

The conflicts arise from politics of recognition of cultural kingdoms and creation of districts without due consensus among stakeholders. This has resulted in the violence especially among youth in rival parties during the electoral contest according to peace actors.

Speaking to this online in an exclusive interview, Brian Kaheru the outspoken Youth Leader in Kasese District, says that the youth are being neglected in the issues concerning peace building and conflict management when it comes to implementation. He observed that since violence in Rwenzori region is linked to historical, socioeconomic and political issues; various approaches are needed to address these factors beginning with those that enable the youth to meaningfully participate in peace building processes.

He said that this can be realized through strengthening their [Youth] groups and initiatives, which are engaged in various sectors that contribute to peace, gender equality, environment and political representation.

Brians Kaheru, Youth leader in Kasese District.

He asked government to recognize that the youth also contribute alternative ideas toward the development of the country, peaceful co-existence and reconciliation as the ‘leaders of tomorrow’.

He observed that youth neglect is central to unresolved conflict in the region relating to Rwenzururu kingdom, rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and spillover of refugees, which have all left families of those killed still waiting for answers and resolution of the conflicts.

Peace building in Rwenzori without youth involvement is equal to zero, according to Zepha Kameli, a Youth and Business Consultant in Kasese town.

Kameli noted “These young people have key roles to play in peace processes since they have a clear vision of what peace could look like in their communities and have the drive to work towards the realization of these goals”.

He observed that in post-conflict contexts they are seen as ‘vulnerable’ groups, yet they could act as mediators, community mobilizers, humanitarian workers and peace brokers in the case of Bakonzo-Bamba conflict in Bundibugyo; the Rwenzururu Kingdom versus-government conflict, the Bakonzo versus Basongora conflict among others”.

He says that youth miss out on given development interventions due to loss of education, lack of employable skills and stability of their families. 

He requested government to provide youth with training opportunities to channel their youthful energy and capabilities, and ability of adaptation to new technological trends. 

Emanuel Kikwaya a youth at the Busunga Border in Bundibugyo Districte says the majority among rebel groups which are operating in Eastern part of Congo, are the youth who are being used by other people with self-interests.

He called for combined effort by Uganda and DRC to build a culture of peace in bothcountries. Youth agreed to raise one voice in promoting peace and do activities that will change the attitude of others to desist from acts of wrong elements and give support to development programs of their countries.

Edith Muhindo a patriot and resident of Kasese town observed that government has established youth empowerment programs like; The Youth Fund where youth can borrow funds and invest in development projects.

“Government also introduced the School fees bursaries at State House and at District level in a bid to give the youth an   education” Muhindo added.

Edith Muhindo, patriot and resident of Kasese town.

She also says that government needs to increase investment in youth empowerment programmes. “Inclusion of young people in peace building processes will facilitate peace in society as the young people’s energies are redirected to participation in constructive peace projects”.

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