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Minister Balaam vows to have jailed NUP supporters released

The State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Mr Balaam Barugahara Ateenyi appearing before Parliament's Appointment Committee for vetting on MOnday, March 25, 2024 (Photo/Handout)

Kampala, (UG):- The new State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Mr Balaam Barugahara Ateenyi has pledged to advocate for the release of National Unity Platform (NUP) youths currently in prison on political grounds.

Balaam made the remarks on Monday just after successfully being vetted by Parliament’s Appointments Committee, chaired by Speaker Anita Among.

According to Balaam, a group of NUP youths wrote to him after learning of his appointment and requested his intervention in securing the release of their fellow members.

“They felt the NUP leadership hadn’t provided enough support,” Balaam said adding that as Youth Minister, he will also devise means of combating teenage pregnancy, ensuring perpetrators are brought to justice.

The minister also noted that fighting youth unemployment will be a key focus of his tenure.

“I am not in Cabinet to recruit the youths for the MK Project, already the MK Project has over 21 million young people and MK or PLU as you may call it, we aren’t a political party. We are a civic organization that is aimed at patriotism, and spreading love for the country. It is a very civic organization where I encourage each one of you to join so by being appointed Minister, I have come to fix and address challenges affecting young people,” Balaam said.

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Balaam further revealed his plans as Minister, stating that his focus will be on advocating for the skilling of youths. He added that he will submit proposals to the Cabinet on how best they can skill the youths based on regional needs.

“The young people, who make up 75% of the population, face 4-5 challenges. The majority of them are unskilled, uneducated, and unemployed. My role will be to advocate for skilling, but we don’t have to skill people for everyone to be involved in activities like brickmaking and making chapatis,” Balaam said.

“Each sub-region has its core strengths. Karamoja has minerals, so the youths in Karamoja should be skilled in mining. Bunyoro has oil, so our youths in Bunyoro should focus more on oil and gas. The youths in Buganda are good coffee farmers.”

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On the same day, the Appointments Committee also vetted other recently appointed state ministers in President Museveni’s recent cabinet reshuffle who included; Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi (Trade), Dr Kenneth Omona (Northern Uganda), Lillian Aber (Relief and Disaster), Phiona Nyamutoro (Minerals), and Florence Nambozo Wamala (Karamoja).

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