EU, Makerere Team Up to Mark Democracy Day

Written by: 
Nelson Ruto Rotino


Makerere University has partnered up with the European Union to organise a public debate as part of the activities to mark the International Day of Democracy.

Under the theme 'The Role of Parliament in shaping representative democracy', the debate will take place on Thursday, September 19. This will be four days after the day put aside by the United Nations –September 15—to as International Democracy Day.

This will be the second time Makerere is hosting the debate, the first one being in 2017 under the theme, 'What does democracy mean to you’. Patrick Kamara, a journalist and host of NTV's “On the Spot” program, is scheduled to moderate the event's proceedings.

The debate is aimed at educating the next generation of leaders on the nature of national politics. European Union Ambassador to Uganda, Attilio Pacifici, pointed out on Monday that no one sits the youth down to inform them on these issues or even to sharpen their perception of politics thus the need for such an initiative. Ambassador Pacifici hopes that the discussions between students and the several influential people that shall be engaged in dissecting that topic will suffice.

Several political leaders, senior journalists as well as students from other tertiary institutions  such as Gulu University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Uganda Christian University are expected to attend.

Parliament's involvement in the stated theme shall be assessed on the basis of ability to advance gender equality, public understanding of Parliamentary proceedings, impact of media coverage in creating this understanding and the public's access to Parliament.

Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, promises to look into the possibility of hosting such debates annually in commemoration of International Democracy Day.

In November 2007, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to observe September 15 as the International Day of Democracy with the aim of upholding and promoting the fundamentals of democracy.

This week, as part of the activities to mark the day, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres emphasised that people should be at the centre of the celebrations. He said, “At heart, democracy is about people. It is built on inclusion, equal treatment and participation, and it is a fundamental building block for peace, sustainable development and human rights”.