Why do we continuously trust old folks with youthful issues?

Lindah Nduwumwami
Moses Ali, first deputy Prime Minister

When Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile was reappointed Governor Bank of Uganda for another five year term, a couple of things happened.

Happy congratulatory messages started flying around while the hopes of a younger, able contender to take over the reins at the bank were dashed.

This state of affairs in our country is the most obvious example of a bigger trend- that the old folk refuse to step aside in society.

Uganda has the biggest percentage of young people. Is it possible our kind of education has put us in a state where even when we are able to lead and make decisions, we are constantly looking for the older people to look up to?

I grew up in an era where all the ministers back then were quite old and these are the people we looked up to.

Could this trend be giving us, the young people, cold feet to take over?

Why are we comfortable with being led and not leading?

Here are areas where the old folk still dominate, holding back the progress of both new generations and Uganda as a whole.


President Museveni who is now 76 years of age was recently voted again to hold the country’s top job.

He beat his youthful contender Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine who was his closest rival.

Put the two together, you’d think our youthful population would go for the youthful man.

But our old people have learnt new ways to be more appealing this youthful population.

When President Museveni started supporting youth groups, he promised employment for the youthful population, he also pulled many entertainers who are the very heartbeat of the youth.

A couple of years ago, Museveni even produced a rap hit, indeed if you can’t beat them, join them and be better even.

First Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader of Government Business General Moses Ali was born in 1939, a few years shy of the beginning of the last century.

He is 83 years old. Looking at the other branches of government, we see that they are equally old and out of touch.

If you want to see the full essence of this, watch the next budget speech.

Is it any wonder that our elected officials are unable to answer the challenges of the modern world?

There might also be reasons why we keep electing the old folk. Unlike the old folk, young people are prone to being carried away, sometimes to cover a mistake, sometimes to build a shallow reputation.

I guess this why when frightened and in crisis, we long for the leadership of the elders. On the onset of Covid-19 in 2020, the whole country longed for advice and wise counsel of the president in his national addresses.

He did well to calm the hearts of his citizens. Others even say he gained more popularity through his speeches which were laced with humour.

The Economy

Much has been said about Uganda’s economy. Yet by controlling the government, the old folk are able to use their political power to protect their economic interests.

You look at how little money us the younger generations have, its no wonder we are jumping at everything for start ups.

By not prioritizing the status quo and pushing any reforms, Uganda’s inequality has hit disturbing levels and most of the country’s wealth is concentrated among the already rich and the very old. It presents an uncertain future, when the young generation begins to question whose future the old men are securing.

Final thoughts

For those in my generation, the education system did not teach us to think for ourselves but to follow the dos and don’ts of the text book.

Just as we took what the teachers gave us for gospel truth; we continue to submit unquestioningly to those who assert themselves above us in authority.

How then can you explain to me the phenomenon of the most successful businessmen and women being school dropouts?

With all these issues, why aren’t the younger folk daring to take on the mantle?

Those who have dared to stand against the old folk on our political scene have been met with threats and bullying from the older counterparts.

By Francis L'Oyet Wod-Jal

A Ugandan Media Proprietor, Software Engineer, Creative Technologist and Investigative Journalist

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