The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has called for a more inclusive society to engage the youth in governance processes to nurture good leaders.
Madam Regina Oforiwa Amanfo, the CDD-Ghana, Senior Programmes Officer and Team Leader for Inclusive and Social Justice, said the time to nurture good leadership to build a more inclusive society was now.
She was speaking at a programme dubbed “Youth speaks forum” in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital, organised by CDD-Ghana in partnership with the Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF).
The event is part of the CDD-Ghana's USAID supported 'Electoral Support Activity.'
The forum, which is being organised nationwide, was for the leadership of the various political parties, and Civil Society Organisations in the Region.
Madam Amanfo said inclusive society could not exist without the effective participation of the youth.
She said the meeting of the political actors and the youth groups would promote dialogue on ways to enhance youth participation in the political and governance processes.
This, she said, would provide critical youth feedback on political parties' policies and programmes on youth development.
It will also stimulate the interest of Ghanaian youth in national, political and governance processes ahead of election 2020.
According to her, Ghana has a youthful population with about 57 per cent under 25 years.
“This youthful population can be an asset for the nation if the enormous abilities and intellect of the youth are channelled towards national development.”
“Unfortunately, the youth have very limited opportunities to engage in governance processes beyond the exercise of their franchise. The limited political participation for the youth is an Africa-wide problem as evidenced in the research findings from the Afrobarometer,” she said.
The Programmes Officer said the Afrobarometer findings suggested that political participation of young people in Africa had declined over the past decade and a half.
She said the findings further revealed that African youth were less likely than their elders to participate in civic activities, while young women participated even less in public affairs, compared to their male counterparts.
“Sadly, youth participation in political processes has occasionally been negative. Political actors sometimes mobilize the youth to cause mayhem and violence during elections.”
Madam Amanfo noted that CDD-Ghana's work on curbing the menace of political party vigilantism in 2017 and 2018 with support from the USAID, showed that most of the party-affiliated vigilante groups were made up of people in their young and active years.
“We are all witnesses of various political violent activities involving the youth in the fourth Republic, either during or after elections. The CDD Security Desk reported recently it tracked violent incidents during the registration exercise. Out of the 20 incidents tracked, 14 were major, involving shooting, injuries and destruction of property.”
Mr Ibrahim Hussein Bancie, the Assistant Programmes Coordinator of the YBF, expressed concern about the number of young Members of Parliament,
“It is really bad that we have 13 out of the 275 Members of Parliament being youth.”
He said there was a need for more youth representation in Parliament to meaningfully contribute to the discourse.