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Uganda: The National Youth Council Act Amended

(May 11, 2010) On May 6, 2010, the Ugandan Parliament passed The National Youth Council (Amendment) Bill No. 17 of 2008 and abolished compulsory membership of youths in the village councils of the area of their residence. (Parliament Outlaws Compulsory Membership to Village Youth Councils, THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA, May 6, 2010, available at

The bill provides that a village youth council will only consist of village resident youths willing to be members of the council. (The National Youth Council (Amendment) Bill, § 1(a)). The National Youth Council Act originally mandated that every village resident between the ages of 18 and 30 automatically become a member of their village youth council. (The National Youth Council Act, Cap 319, 12 LAWS OF UGANDA § 6(1) (rev. ed. 2000) (official source).)

The bill, however, appears to indirectly force youth to join village councils. While it allows youths to avoid membership in village youth councils, it makes decisions of village councils binding on all village youths, including non-members. (The National Youth Council (Amendment) Bill, § 1(b).)

The bill is harsher on village residents who are not Ugandan citizens. It excludes non-Ugandan citizens from joining village youth councils, but makes decisions of village councils equally binding on them. (Id.)

The bill provides that elections to the village youth council and to the parish council (which consists of all the members of the village youth committees in the parish) will be conducted by the Electoral Commission, which will also have responsibility for voter registration. (Id. at § 2.)