Uganda’s political labyrinth – bridging the generation gap through mentorship?

Uganda’s political landscape faces a conundrum. Experienced leaders lament the decline of a mentoring system that nurtures talented followers.

The emergence of “political novices” in leadership positions, bypassing established hierarchies, raises concerns about preparedness and effectiveness. This article explores the potential benefits and challenges of reviving past mentoring practices.

Advantages of the old system:

Veteran politicians such as Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki advocate a return to a structured ascent. Her own career path, moving from local government to national parliament, exemplifies the value of experience gained through lower rungs on the political ladder. Similarly, Emmanuel Dombo emphasizes the inspirational role played by dignitaries in the early days of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. These mentors instilled values, strategies and leadership qualities in the next generation.

The Erosion of Mentorship:

But both Nyakaisiki and Dombo acknowledge the significant obstacles to reviving this approach. Nyakaisiki rejects the prevalence of “queue jumping”, suggesting that financial clout or clout can lead inexperienced individuals to assume leadership roles. Dombo highlights the demographic shift – an increasing youth population (“Youth Bulge”) – and the rise of “commercial politics” as factors disrupting the traditional system.

Challenges and considerations:

Even if a revival were possible, questions remain. Nyakaisiki expresses doubts about the current generation’s receptivity to mentoring from “alumni” – experienced leaders who may be perceived as out of touch. Dombo suggests revising management criteria. He questions the continued use of a basic education certificate (S6) as a qualification, suggesting that it may be inadequate for the complexities of contemporary politics.

The way forward:

Uganda is at a crossroads. The potential benefits of a structured mentoring system are undeniable. But a return to the past may not be straightforward. The current political climate, demographic changes and the perceived value of experienced leaders require careful consideration.

Unanswered questions:

The true cost of “jumping the queue” in terms of managerial effectiveness remains unclear. Whether it is possible or even desirable to revive the old system requires further debate. Ultimately, Uganda must determine the best way to cultivate a new generation of capable leaders that will ensure a stable and prosperous future.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More