TOPIC: ‘INNOVATION IN YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNANCE AND ELECTIONS’
History tells us that our youth have always played a fundamental role in the evolution of politics in Ghana.
- Military and democratic.
As a youth, you are a generation that is central to social and political transformation especially when our population demographics indicate that with a bulging youth population of 57%, we are crucial in determining election outcomes. Therefore in order to ensure that these outcomes are desirable, we must be engaged to determine political trajectories.
Unfortunately, we are witnessing a trend of disengaged youth in our democratic dispensation and where our youth have been engaged, it has not always been positive.
The creeping culture of Vigilantism in our body politic reflects how our youth have become tools of violence particularly during the electoral season. The predatory political landscape preys on the youth (often unemployed and disillusioned) to do the bidding of politicians with their own parochial interests.
In workspaces, we see it when young workers are used to sabotaging or promoting the interests of those higher up in authority for political expediency in a partisan environment.
The youth are disengaged in the day to day issues of governance and with respect to their civic duties as enshrined in the Constitution
In governance how many of you have shown interest in the work of district assemblies, in the work of Parliament and even the work of independent governance institutions? How many of us have read the Constitution recently?
So-called developed countries did not happen by chance. There were very deliberate choices and efforts made by individuals including the youth. International Youth Day celebrations are a call to action – not just for the day but as a way of life.
Ghana continues to make gains in our democratic journey. However, these gains can be quickly eroded if the youth do not understand themselves as a generation who matter in the principles and objectives of our democracy, understand what we want in governance and politics, and have the awareness that we have the power to change and transform.
We live in an era where the power and importance of information and communication technology open our minds to new ideas and experiences contextualized in both the national and global arena. These give rise to dreams, goals, and aspirations for ourselves, our families, our communities, our nation, and the world.
How are we harnessing these opportunities to propel us to make the changes, implement systems, and transform institutions for the true realization of democracy?
What even does democracy mean to us?
How does it trigger participation in decision making?
In 2020 what is your role in elections
- Pay attention
- Stay engaged
- Make an informed choice
Pay attention to issues around you. Listen intently beyond the cacophony of campaign promises.
Assess whether it responds to the needs of yourself, your family, your community and your nation.
Stay engaged – interrogate the message,
Interrogate the promises.
Are these achievable?
Do they respond to your needs?
Interrogate the candidates
- What values do they espouse
- What is their track record
- Are they agents of leaders you can trust?
And then make an informed choice
A choice that resonates the tenets and values of freedom, peace, accountability, equity and democratic practice and unity in development.
In a nutshell be a discerning patriotic citizen.
Beyond these, you must be peace agents, advocating and striving for peace at all times and in all places because there can only be one Ghana and your future is tied to the peace and stability of our Ghana. As peace agents, reject violent candidates and shame political activists who preach violence.
The decisions we make affect us in 2020 and beyond. Our Constitution states that Sovereignty resides in citizens.
More importantly, we must remember that youth participation in the political space should go beyond voting, to enter the arena of youth candidates who contest elections. I challenge you that in the role you play in election 2020, remember to set the stage that enhances generational representation that gives you the power to realize your goals and live your dreams of a Ghana you are proud of.