Youth now take over advocacy roles, utilize social media platforms

Saturday September 03 2022
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By Ange Iliza

Youth appear to have taken over advocacy roles as they utilise social media to campaign for or against issues affecting the society.

In recent trend, the youth took the war against high cost of living and ills in the society, among them sexual harassment to social media, where they name and shame perpetrators.

The trend which started a few years ago, spearheaded by a few girls who
opened anonymous twitter accounts to name and shame men, who had sexually assaulted them and pointing out injustices the girl child continues to face, has now grown in full scale.

Every day at least three Twitter spaces are held by the youth, bringing hundreds or thousands of people to tune in and share their views on issues ranging from domestic violence, sexual abuse, rise in commodity prices on the market, or mourning local celebrities who have passed.

Afl odis Kagaba, executive director of Health Development Initiative, one of the leading civil society organisations in the country, called this a positive development, and a refl ection that the country’s youth are becoming empowered.

“This is a positive trend, young people didn’t have channels to express their views, if it wasn’t for one to be invited on radio or write in a newspaper there wasn’t any other outlet, social media has provided the tools to use,”


He said through these platforms young
people have expanded the civil society
space which is good.

“Civil society is changing, its tradition-
al role of doing advocacy has now been

take up by youth on these platforms,

there are more opportunities for peo-
ple to express themselves, this is good,”

he added.
He, however, cautioned authorities to learn how to live with the new trend of self-expression as opposed to trying to regulate it.

The recent imprisonment of a young woman — Mugabekazi Lilliane — for alleged indecent dressing sparked public outrage on social media, where young people united in castigating police for the arrest.

Ms Mugabekazi, 24 was arrested in the August 7 for wearing a sheer dress at a concert in Kigali which police considered a crime hence the arrest, but the arrest came to light weeks later, sparking an uproar.

Even people who normally jump in such campaigns to support the government institutions or government positions on many issues, came to castigate the arrest of Ms Mugabekazi.