Child activists in Rwenzori region want politicians to give more attention to children issues in their manifestos. The activists argue that as politicians gear up for next year\'s general elections, issues concerning children haven\'t attracted their attention.
They are concerned that politicians have focused their attention to other groups like women and the elderly and neglected children and youths. Francis Mujuni, the Executive Director Rwenzori Youth Network says there is need for those vying for political offices to make concrete promises on youth and children.
Mujuni adds that district and national leaders have turned a blind eye to crimes committed against children like neglect, defilement and child labor.
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Vincent Mugisa, a member of Youth Concern notes that politicians aspiring for elective offices have fallen short of reflecting concrete policies for children in their manifestos. Mugisa wants the aspirants to explain to voters how critical issues like early pregnancies and access to reproductive health services will be tackled.
Mugisa explains that early this year the NGO carried out a survey, which indicated that only 11 percent of adolescents in the region have access to reproductive health services and 24 percent of adolescent girls become pregnant before the age of 18. Joan Kahunde, a youth in Fort Portal challenges the public not to vote for leaders who do not have a clear agenda for child protection.
She explains that several children are regularly abused by uncaring parents and subjected to a range of dehumanizing acts from people charged with their care. According Kahunde, children need to know that their leaders have got a plan to protect their welfare and that they can report cases of abuse if they are victimised.
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David Aliganyira, the Rwenzori Region coordinator, Uganda Youth Network says youths in the region are planning to launch a new manifesto outlining key areas affecting them in areas of education, health, unemployment and lack of the participation in the decision making process.
Aliganyira adds that the youths plan to sell the manifesto to various political parties to priorities issues affecting them.