The Chairman of NCCE, Ms. Kathleen Addy, has urged the youth to unite and advance the course of youth participation at all levels of governance with a common voice. She made these remarks during a Youth Democracy Forum organized by the Centre for Democracy and Youth Development (CDS Africa) in Accra. The theme for the forum was Deepening Youth Participation in the Democratic Process.

Other resource persons were Hon. Lydia Seyram Alhassan, the Member of Parliament, Ayawaso West Wuogon, Prof. Seidu Alidu, Head of the Political Science Department, University of Ghana and Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Celestine Addo, a student at the GIMPA Law School and Worship Joshua Frimpong, also a Student, GIMPA Law School.

Ms. Addy admonished the youth to support democratic efforts and value the country’s constitutional democracy. She advised them to unite, agree to disagree, and force politicians to do the right thing and put Ghana first in their line of work. “We should let them know what we want and they will do what has to be done to get the results they desire, instead of vote-buying”, she remarked. She said the youth can advocate for change, and engage the government right from the level of the Assembly Members and Unit Committee Members. “Building leadership experience stems from diverse avenues, even volunteering in community work”, she added.

Hon. Lydia Seyram Alhassan for her part said, youth participation does not equate to violence or disharmony but should shape policy and drive change, as the youth forms about 67% of Ghana’s population under the age of 25. She explained that the voices of the youth should be heard through the right channels and must be expressed peacefully.

Celestine Addo pleaded with the NCCE to translate the Constitution into local languages and brills for the blind, buttressing it by quoting Article 35 (6d).

Prof. Alidu explained that, for youth participation to be made seamless, there should be an enabling environment to enable them to realise their potential. He debunked the assumption that change must always come from above, but the youth can rally around to open the doors of change.

Dr. Akwetey helped the audience understand that the purpose of the youth is to take Ghana to the next step, better than they met it. “The expectation is to be groomed to take leadership positions and move Ghana forward for posterity. Service to God, people and country must take a front seat”.

Worship Frimpong raised pertinent concerns about leaders not involving the youth at all levels of decision-making. “Less than about 10% of the youth have access to electorates. The youth is the reservoir of innovation and hope, the lifeblood of the nation, and if they are not involved through and through, how then do we practice democracy?”, he stated.

In his closing remarks, Prof. Abeiku Blankson urged youth leaders to create and define their democracy to make Ghana a better place now and for future generations.

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