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17.01.2011 Politics

Politicians Must Invest In Supporters - Dr Ofei-Aboagye Advises

By Caroline Boateng - Daily Graphic
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The Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, has called on politicians to use part of their Common Fund to build the capacities of the youth they use to prosecute their campaign agendas.

She said since Members of Parliament and other politicians most often depended on the youth during elections, it was only morally right for them to invest in those they used to get into power.

She said this in an address on the topic” Harnessing the power of the youth for accelerated development: The new decentralisation policy and the role of the youth,” at the 62nd New Year School of the Institute of Continuing and Distance Education (ICDE) at the University of Ghana (UG), Legon.

Dr Ofei-Aboagye asserted that the development of the youth should start with the district assemblies and in the various localities in which the youth lived as outlined in the new decentralisation policy launched in November 2010.

She said the policy had made provision for the setting up of a sub-committee on youth development in the district assemblies and the provision acknowledged the place of the youth in accelerated decentralisation.

She was, however, of the view that the provision alone was not enough to ensure youth participation in accelerated decentralisation.

What was left with the policy, she said, was the commitment of political leaders to ensure that the youth were equipped to make them active participants in decentralisation process.

Dr Ofei-Aboagye also maintained that emphasising the concerns of the youth in every aspect of the policy was important for ensuring their full participation and contribution.

She strongly advocated the centralisation of youth issues in all the 10 objectives outlined in the decentralisation policy, which are political and legal reform, administrative decentralisation, decentralisation planning, local economic development (LED), fiscal decentralisation, popular participation and accountability, social agenda, involvement of non-state actors and streamlining donor activities.

Taking each objective, Dr Ofei-Aboagye shared with participants how issues of the youth could be put on the front burner in the attainment of each of them.

For instance, on decentralisation and spatial planning, she was of the view that since those engaged in hawking were mostly youthful, it was important for assemblies to collaborate with youth groups in the planning of their areas.

Dr Ofei-Aboagye said the development of the youth needed to be fostered by assemblies through proper planning and strategies, reminding all that the district assemblies were training grounds for the youth in politics, hence the need to give them opportunities there.

She expressed hope that within the four-year implementation period of the policy, a well equipped youth would be totally engaged in monitoring and also contributing to the objectives in the policy.

The chairperson for the lecture, Mr Kwesi Jonah, who is also Head of the Department of Political Science of the UG, endorsed Dr Ofei-Aboagye’s perspectives.

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