- We need policies that favor the people
Kharono Michelle Carol has experienced the injustices of a deficient democracy since her humble upbringing in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. She is always pushing for a more inclusive society, and the demands of the African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance helps her hold people in power accountable.
I grew up in the slums of Kampala. Life was not easy, and we did not have many things. Across the road from us was a fancier neighborhood, where politicians lived. I said to my mom:
- I belong on that side of the road too!” We are all human beings. What they have, I can achieve, I thought. I asked my mom:
- Why are we not over there? We go to the same church as those people. There is no difference, even though they have fancier clothes.
I even told her, when I was 9 years old, that I wanted to become president. But she did not believe me. She was a very humble and quiet person. She thought I was big-headed.
I actually started getting involved in decision-making already when I was 7. That’s when I was elected prefect at school. I come from a poor family, and so people thought I had nothing to offer. But I wanted to prove them wrong.
This pattern has repeated itself. When I was elected to my first political seat in 2011, as vice chair for the Urban Youth Council, Nakawa Division, Kampala, I would go to official functions. Again and again, speakers at these functions would not introduce me, because they felt young people are not important at these functions.
That young people are just “noise makers”. But then at one function, I told the speaker: If you don’t introduce me, I will introduce myself. People noticed me after that. The elders took notice. I realized that actually, the more I am pushed, the more I can achieve.
One other situation in particular I remember very clearly. It was when I wanted to contest as public secretary for Kampala District in the National Youth Council from 2016.
I needed to have an official stamp on my paperwork to contest. The registrar who was assigned to stamp the documents had been given a list of names of people whose documents he should stamp.
My name was not on that list, because older politicians who have influence in the council did not want me to be able to contest. I am too critical of the status quo.
The registrar went to hide in a casino! I called some of my friends from the ghetto, and they came with me. We found him in the casino, and I told him: Look, I have my friends here with me as witnesses. They have cameras. They will tell everyone about this injustice if you do not stamp my papers. And so he did.
Kharono Michelle Carol
- Kampala, Uganda
- Completed ACDEG training with ActionAid Uganda in 2018
- Publicity Secretary, Kampala District, National Youth Council of Uganda
- Member of National Women’s Council representing young women in Nakawa Division, Kampala
Uganda and the ACDEG
Signed: December 16, 2008
“If we - with this project - continue at this pace, I believe the ACDEG will be implemented more places. MP’s are showing interest in the charter, and young people are becoming engaged."
I want to become a member of parliament. We need policies that favor people, and I want to push for that. Because that it is not what is happening today.
Our politicians do not represent the people, especially youth. Through my training with ActionAid, I realized that the Charter lays out many of these important issues, which people don’t know enough about.
Free and fair elections, good governance. For instance, that’s why I went on local radio to discuss the charter. To inform more people to speak out and get involved. Politics is about numbers. And who has the numbers? Young people!