The Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Ms. Kathleen Addy, has urged the youth to unite and with a common voice, advance the course of youth participation at all levels of governance. She made this remark during a Youth Democracy Forum organized by the Centre for Democracy and Youth Development (CDS Africa) at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). The theme was Deeping Youth Participation in the Democratic Process.

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

Ms Addy admonished the youth not to take the democracy we enjoy as a country for granted. She advised them to unite, agree to disagree and force politicians to do the right thing because politicians are rational. “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. The youth can advocate for change, engaging 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 advised.

Hon. Alhassan said that youth participation does not equate to violence or discord 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 peacefully. She asserted that it is not just a right, but a responsibility.

Worship Frimpong raised pertinent concerns about our 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 quipped.

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 needs to 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”.

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


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