Two years ago, my friend David Kabanda and I walked into the office of the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, as strangers; with an invitation for him to be a guest of honour at a youth event in Mubende.
On our side, it was a gamble given his busy schedule. By the close of our half-hour interaction, we were laughing on top of our voices and he had accepted our invitation. He showed up for the function and the rest is history.
The importance of this story is to underline Oulanyah’s leadership style towards the youth.
Just last week, he accepted our short notice invitation at Pope Paul conference hall in Lubaga, where District Youth leaders from all the NRM Districts of the Central Region and Kampala Region had a meeting.
In his signature style, he bonded and by the close of the meeting, we had all agreed that he will be our candidate for the Position of NRM National Vice Chairman for Nothern Uganda, one of those that make the Central Executive Committee (CEC), NRM’s top policy organ.
Friends, we face the crisis of leaders that show up at an opportunistic time to take advantage of the youth numbers at election time and disappear with change of contact numbers once elected.
Oulanyah is a present leader with empathy and compassion for the youth.
I may not capture this point like my brother Daniel Kafeero Zaake, the Buwama Sub County NRM Youth League chairman that received the helping hand of Oulanyah at his sick-bed at Mulago Hospital following an accident.
He appealed to our audience with his vision to strengthen the NRM structures for them to be able to perform oversight work in government service delivery and thereby taking ownership to improve the current status where structures are for electioneering.
Oulanyah has also vowed to use his membership in the Central Executive Committee (CEC) to push for accessibility to affordable credit to boost entrepreneurship among the youth.
To all and sundry, youth unemployment continues to be an elephant in the room.
Whereas the party Chairman and President, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has been clear on industrialization as a strategic intervention to youth unemployment, Oulanyah’s diagnosis of increasing access to affordable credit for youth entrepreneurs will be a game-changer to cater for mass numbers of young people that ooze with innovation. Once their enterprises are up, they will in turn create jobs.
Another important conversation that Oulanyah has kick-started is making Agriculture attractive for the different categories of NRM special interest groups like Women, PWDs, Veterans, and the youth. This will reduce pressure on urban centers where many people run to in search of opportunities.
A walk in the slums of major cities across the country, and majorly in Kampala, one cannot avoid looking at able-bodied people who are engaged in petty activities as they waste away their youthful energy.
In the end, the country will pay a higher price to look after elderly people a glimpse of which we see with the Shs 20,000 by the Ministry of Labour to the elderly from selected districts across the country.
Therefore, our endorsement of Oulanyah is twofold; one, his relationship, character and personality that is endearing; making him easily accessible to the youth and two, we associate with his message to make CEC louder on the issues that affect the youth.
We implore our fellow youth Leagues to Vote Oulanyah for NRM Vice Chairperson Northern Uganda.
The writer is National Vice Chairman NRM Youth League in Charge of Central Region. He can be reached on +256 775 549199.