EMPOWERED: “Use Your Potential To Address The Shrinking Civic Space”, Youth Urged


Youth attending the training organised by AYDL at Eureka Hotel in Kampala on August 26 2022 Inset Robert Mugisa presents during one of the sessions PHOTOS/PATRICK JARAMOGI


KAMPALA, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA] The youth have been urged to use their potential to protect the shrinking civic space.

The call was made by Benson Ekwee Ocen the Executive Director Public Affairs Center Uganda (PAC) Chairperson Anti Corruption Coalition Soroti.

“We all have a role to play in protecting our civic space. We need to give critical thoughts to our words and actions,” he said.

Ekwee was speaking to youths drawn from across Uganda who were attending a one-day training organized by the African Youth Development Link in partnership with Covidwatch Africa (CWAI) and Forum for International Cooperation (FIC).

The training on strategic organizational leadership and project management held at Eureka Hotel in Kampala comes at the backdrop of the shrinking civic space witnessed in Uganda.

Ekwee who has been instrumental in addressing graft issues warned that continuous shrinking of the civic space always tends to make the population militant.

He advised the youth who constitute over 70% of the country’s population to put love for their country first in the struggle to achieve civic space.

“One of the standing points for our struggle is to love our country first. I don’t want to deceive you, but we are standing against very many powerful forces,” he said, adding: “Many people have died in the process of trying to fight against the shrinking civic space, but always put the love of your country at the heart of your struggle.”

He emphasized the need for being purpose and value driven as the struggle takes center stage.

Martin Wanzala, the Co-Founder and Executive Director African Youth Development Link said the training is a follow up to the earlier workshop held last month to steer the youth in the country towards addressing the shrinking civic space.


“We work to provide a link between youth and governance policy processes in Uganda through a human rights perspective,” said Wanzala.

He told the youth that AYDL strives to advocate for the implementation and reform of laws and policies for increased youth participation in leadership and democratic governance processes at local and national levels.

Ivan Otim the AYDL Advocacy Manager said the campaign is geared towards reviewing the emergency laws and expanding of freedom of expression in Uganda.

Otim said youth and various stakeholders from the districts of Arua, Gulu, Kasese, Soroti and Kampala will be engaged over the coming months to champion this agenda.

“The purpose of this initiative is to enhance freedom of expression and participation by people and CSOs in Uganda by campaigning for review of laws, policies and regulation which have ended up shrinking the civic space,” said Otim.

Robert Mugisa Abwooli  a renowned lawyer and Human Rights lawyer from the Human Rights Center Uganda Uganda described the civic space in Uganda as ‘repressed’. “It is sad that active individuals and civil society members who criticize power holders risk surveillance, harassment, imprisonment, injury and at times death,” said Mugisa.

He identified issues such as the shutdown of social media, (Facebook), the introduction of the Over-the-Top- Tax, though it was dropped, and the imposition of the 12% internet data levy in July 2021 as some of the aspects of shrinking civic space.

“These measures have limited ordinary people access to information, while also greatly affecting the small and medium businesses that rely on social media platforms for marketing and distribution.

Mugisa also noted that the Non-Governmental Organizations Act 2016 has also used to limit the operations of CSOs viewed as critical to the government.

He said the government has also used the Press and Journalists Act, Cap 105 to limit independent media and journalism.

Activists threatened

Recent reports indicate a rise in cases of threats, intimidation, and arrest of activists. As of 2021, there were 177 cases of arrests and over 300 cases of threats reported.

These and other issues ae a threat to CSOs and the entire citizenry to freely express themselves or undertake civic actions that hold duty bearers accountable.

Additional reporting by Patrick Jaramogi 

Shift Media News

Read Previous

SKILLING: Journalists Trained To Defend The Informal Economy Worker’s Rights

Read Next

RIGHT TO FOOD: Re-awakening The Legal Obligation To Establish National Food Reserves: A sustainable Solution To Food Crisis In Uganda

Leave a Reply