A Human Rights and Youth Centred COVID 19 Response Mechanism in Uganda

A Human Rights and Youth Centred COVID 19 Response Mechanism in Uganda

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Prosper Mubangizi started this petition to H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni President of the Republic of Uganda

Your Excellency;

Greetings from Youth4Uganda.

Your Excellency we want to thank you for the good work you are doing to ensure that Uganda manages the COVID- 19 Pandemic.  The NRM Government has demonstrated that change is possible when we all work together and indeed with your leadership, the COVID 19 pandemic will soon be history.

Your Excellency, We the Young People of Uganda want to draw your attention to the following issues and request that you address them in your State of Nation Address planned for today 3rd April 2020 and subsequent addresses to the Nation;

1.    Equitable Distribution of Food:   We appreciate the directive on giving food to those in need, we ask through you sir, that the distribution  should be equitable  with a focus on child headed households, Youth  in slum areas, youth in refugee camps and Youth with disabilities. Your Excellency, the food distribution should be beyond Kampala and Wakiso, specifically for those youth in slum areas outside the two districts.

2.    Rent: Your Excellency as you are away, 7 out of 10 youth live from hand to mouth. With the lockdown, we are unable to drive boda bodas, work in salons, or go to the markets and earn a living. We request through you Sir, that for the landlords  defer payment of rent for the months we are on lock down and also for the Government to reduce on Land Lord tax charges and banks to work out an acceptable Loan Payment Plan.

3.    Local Defence Unit Brutality: Your Excellency, unfortunately, the LDUs that you have trusted to protect the communities are using excess powers and need to be regulated. First, Your Excellency, they lack basics like masks, have no sanitizers on them and are at risk of contacting the Corona Virus. Secondly, the way they are handling people, especially the youth and women is inhumane. Given that LDUs are mainly youth, we are concerned about their renumeration as not being commensurate with the work and time they put in.  Through you, Sir, we urge them to remain steadfast in their duty to respect human rights. We also urge you to look into their welfare through increased renumeration and allowances as they are breadwinners in their own right;

4.   Investment in the social Infrastructure: Your Excellency, this pandemic is unearthing the glaring inequalities in our society and there is a risk that the inequalities and gaps between the Haves and the Have nots are going to increase. Such a social ill requires a robust social infrastructure in areas of health access and social safety nets. We therefore ask of you to consider increasing investment in such sectors for a healthy and equitable nation and this can be done through increasing investment in health like increasing budget allocation to atleast 15% of the national budget. Social safety nets should enjoy a big share in public and private investment through social assistance, insurance, pensions and can enjoy more than 0.4% of our GDP if we intentionally looked at them in policy and planning.

5.The Cost of Data and Over-The-Top (OTT) Tax: Your Excellency, we want to ask you again to reconsider the issue of OTT tax and scrap it off as well as revisiting the costs on data given we are in a digital economy.  Online space is now our working avenue but also a good way of having access to information and will enable more youth to get online and do something productive. Having an affordable cost and easy access to internet is a step in the right direction if we as a country wish to harness the opportunities presented by a highly digitized world and to transition into a knowledge economy.

We thank you in advance for addressing your mind to these issues. On our part, As the youth movement and the civil society fraternity at large, we recognize that we are in this together, mindful of the need to stay safe throughout the gazetted period at least until otherwise advised by the responsible authorities, and remain committed to do our civic duty to prevent the further spread of this deadly virus. We are available to provide alternative policy ideas to guide decision making, legislation and budget appropriation.

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At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!