Authoritarian governments, like democratic ones, need to draft and implement policies to solve large problems in their countries.  One such problem is youth unemployment, which is an increasingly challenging problem worldwide, and particularly in Uganda, which has one of the largest and fastest-growing youth population in the world. Most estimates, depending on how work in informal businesses is reported, show that unemployment for youth is alarmingly high and also that the majority of employed youth have neither technical skills nor specialization in training. Those in self-employment are said to have challenges of accessing affordable loans and startup capital.   The ruling party in Uganda, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), has responded to the problem by implementing a series of youth employment initiatives that provide youth funding to develop skills and create start-up ventures. Still, there are many who claim that these programs have failed in securing the livelihood of youth beneficiaries, because the intention of the government was to use these youth programs as a tool to mobilize the youth in support of the current regime. In this article we ask whether the government has been successful—or failed—in implementing the a youth employment program. By interviewing several actors involved in the program, as well as interpreting existing reports and statistics, we find that the program has failed in both. Our main argument is that policies that are effective are the best tools for domination and that poorly crafted—and politicized—reforms will backfire, and eventually make the government more vulnerable for youth attacks and resentment.  

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