Minister Balaam beseeches youth leaders on integrity

Kampala, (UG):- Young Leaders have been beseeched to appreciate the importance of integrity and apply it as they play their roles in the communities they serve.

The call was made by the State Minister for Gender, Labour, and Social Development In Charge of Children and Youth Affairs, Hon. Balaam Barugahara Ateenyi, during a meeting hosted by the European Union in Uganda as part of the European Union Youth Sounding Board (EUYSD)on youth issues.

The EUYSD is a platform for young leaders to play an advisory role on issues pertaining to the youth. Hon. Balaam was meeting with EUYSD members following an invitation extended to him by Ambassador His Excellency Jan Sadek of EU in Uganda at his Ambassador’s Residence, in Kampala, yesterday 13th June 2024.

According to the Minister, young leaders should consistently uphold the truth, particularly in the fight against corruption.

The Male Youth Councilor for Namisindwa District, Bwayo Emma, who opened up to the DailyExpress about the meeting said, “We explored how his Ministry, along with other pro-youth stakeholders, can better support the needs of young people in Uganda”.

Bwayo who is also the Executive Member in charge of Publicity at the EU youth platform says, “I still believe in the importance of empowering young people to actively engage in decision-making processes. It is important that we define and support the role of youth in politics”.

During the meeting EUYSD members made a number of recommendations to the Minister which included among others; an increase in PDM allocation for youth from 30% – 50%, ensuring a good working environment for young people in the informal sector. Securing contracts to guard jobs and other benefits, trace for minimum wage bill, tackle Labour exporting and support for young people in agriculture.

The Minister’s integrity message to the youth leaders comes at a crucial moment when Uganda is grappling with major corruption scandals emanating from Parliament, Ministries and the State House.

On the issue of fighting corruption President Yoweri Museveni on June 6, 2024, while delivering the State of the Nation address to Parliament at Kololo Independence Grounds as per Article 101 (1) of Uganda’s Constitution said, “Eliminate corruption in the public service and from among the political leaders. I have been getting good information about corrupt actors among the public servants but also among the political actors. With firm evidence, I will crush these traitors”.

“Public servants and political leaders that steal Government money are corrupt and will be crushed. There are, however, other actors, that get bribes from foreigners to work for foreign interests. These are both corrupt and traitors and we are monitoring their activities. If they do not stop; and with evidence, we shall deal with them. As part of fighting corruption, it is crucial to save the amateurish political actors who come into politics without knowing that leading people does not mean carrying them on your head. It means that you show them the way”, he said.

President Museveni revealed that some of his staff at State House are culprits of the unending vice of corruption, to the extent of bribing investors both local and foreign in order to meet him. He elaborated that, “the officials (whom he did not name) have not been spared by the cancer (of corruption and bribery) that the Inspector General of Government (IGG) says it costs the country at least Shs1 million every hour”.

“I have been hearing that people, even in my office, take bribes to arrange meetings with me, can you imagine? But we recently arrested one who is alleged to have extorted money from an investor. The matter is currently in court,” said Mr Museveni.

According to the President, most of the victims at the State House are foreign investors who come to the country seeking to make serious ventures in different sectors of the economy. He therefore directed the Ministry of Finance to curb the high interest rates charged by money lenders to boost investment in the country but was quick to say the Finance Ministry too, has also not been spared by the vice either.

“I have been hearing that individuals from the Finance Ministry connive with accounting officers of Ministries to come to parliament so that they are given certain funds, provided they take a share. I have proof. We are going to crush them,” Mr Museveni emphatically stressed.

“I will not grant them amnesty. With the crushing of corruption, Uganda is unstoppable. I feel amazed that some of our people can join this corruption knowing very well that we can crash this group,” he added amid a buckle of empty red seats meant for the opposition who boycotted the sitting.

The President’s warning has resulted in the recent remanding of three Members of Parliament from his National Resistance Movement (NRM) party to Luzira Prison on corruption charges.

The accused, Cissy Namujju, Yusuf Mutembuli, and Paul Akamba, allegedly attempted to lobby for increased budget allocations for the Uganda Human Rights Commission in exchange for a percentage of the increment.

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