Blaise: NRM youth league a nucleus for grooming future leaders

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Blaise Kamugisha

At 24 years, Blaise Kamugisha mobilised 11 million crime preventers under than Police chief Kale Kayihura.

Having served as the national coordinator of Crime Preventers, Blaise is now eyeing the chairmanship of NRM Youth League.

We recently caught up with him and this is what he told us:  

Many but not all of Ugandan young people join politics to get what to eat what the Baganda call “Mele Yarelo” where does this leave the youth in Uganda politics!

Victoria University

This is a symptom of a greater societal problem demonstrated by the political class.

It is now common for public officials and their relatives to show off their lifestyles. This is another source of aggravation. Young people see their leaders or their relatives/ assistants living large and cannot explain how such people are able to afford such a glamorous lifestyle. This is difficult to explain and so becomes a basis for young people holding the view that politics is a source of income. This problem is likely to continue if we as NRM or other political parties do  not invest in civic education and a clear cadre policy.

NRM is a grass root political party! One would be right to compare NRM with CCM in Tanzania and ANC in South Africa! Why is the NRM youth league not so vibrant! And one would assume that in such a youth league future leaders would be groomed!

First it is unfair to compare NRM with ANC or CCM, the two parties fought for independence of their respective countries and had superior organizational strategy comprised of youth wing, armed wing and political wing. NRM on the other hand was a post-colonial armed struggle that fought against internal aggressions by the existing government of Obote and Idi Amin. The youth wing is a recent concept that has not been nurtured to meet the expectations of formidable parties like NRM. It is a work in progress and I want to be part of that generation that will make it break out of the shell of dormancy.

Unless otherwise, the EC proclaimed scientific campaigns for the next general elections! Where does this leave young politicians who are competing with well-established mature candidates!

Its unfortunate our politics have become highly monetized, a certain class of haves and have nots have been created which is now a determinant on whether one is to join politics or not. The culture of those who are the only ones with rights to participate in politics has become the order of the day. This leaves established candidate with a better chance because they are considered to have money and will be able to buy more airtime, ads and move household to hold. The young must have money to have advantage. That’s the reality and unfortunately little is being done to reverse the situation.

What informed your move to contest for NRM Youth league Chairperson! What is it, that your bring to the table!

I have been a member of the NRM but I have never felt engaged by the party as a young member except during elections or when the party needs us to advance a given agenda. Why must we wait for such incidences to feel engaged? Youth league is not just an organ to fulfill the requirement of the party constitution, it is the future of NRM, the nucleus of the party where future leaders are identified and groomed. This aspect is seriously lacking and I think as a member of the party, I have do something about it if the elders are not giving it the attention it deserves.

There is a short video clip of you making rounds on social media, your quoted saying that you can kill for the president! Why do you want to kill Ugandans! Is it true that you can kill for the president?

First of all, that video does not represent the whole speech, those circulating it only picked that part to suite their interest. But if you listen to it, I also stated that I don’t want to be misquoted by you “the media”. I am responsible for what I say but I cant take responsibility for the interpretation anyone gives it. I was only expressing my love for the revolutionary leaders of the NRM who chose to stand with others when others couldn’t. I was expressing my determination to defend his gains and those of NRA/M by being at the frontline. I was expressing my loyalty to the party before anything else. There is no better way I could do that. Given chance I can say the same gain and again.

In Uganda today, some people consider it unstylish for young people to support NRM, and very stylish to support the opposition! Do you agree and why is it so!

I partly agree to a small extent, because, youths like things that are exiting, trending and stylish. Which is why they are impatient with policies, politics and actions which they perceive as taking the country back to the bad days. They want to see initiatives that make them stand out on the continent. NRM is not investing enough is such, and has left the space for the opposition. To greater extent, NRM still have majority support among the youths which accounts for so many NRM youth outfits which are not necessarily part of the party but support the party which is why we need a vibrant youth league to give a home to these youths.

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