The youth in the country have been advised to use their strength to demand accountability and inclusion from politicians.
Rather than being used as pawns to achieve their political ambitions, the youth have been urged to take advantage of their large number to ensure that their concerns were addressed by political parties.
Addressing youth groups from the Ashanti Region in Kumasi yesterday, the Programme Coordinator for the Youth Bridge Foundation, a youth advocacy group, Ms Joyce Nyame, said although the youth constituted the chunk of the voting population,their concerns had never been addressed by political parties.
She said the youth needed to actively engage politicians to put their issues across for parties to include in their manifestos.
The forum was organised in partnership with the Centre for Democratic Development Ghana (CDD-Ghana), with funding from USAID.
It was on the theme: “Engendering national and local conversations on youth issues ahead of elections 2020.”
Ms Nyame said the Youth Speaks Forum was a platform for the youth to engage political parties on their youth policies and also make recommendations to ensure that their views and aspirations were included in the manifestos for easy implementation when they won power.
According to Ms Nyame, figures from the 2016 voters register showed that the youth (18-35) constituted 62 per cent of the voter population, while 21 per cent of that were first time voters.
That, she said, showed that the youth were major power brokers in the nation’s politics and that they could use their huge numbers to have their concerns addressed.
She noted ,however, that the high rate of illiteracy among the youth was an impediment to their ability to effectively engage political parties to have their issues included in their manifestos.
While acknowledging there was a high prospects for the youth to effectively engage duty bearers and get their issues addressed, adding that there was the need for them to build their capacity and be well informed to make demands for inclusion from the politicians.
The Senior Programme Officer at the CDD-Ghana, Ms Regina Oforiwaa Amanfo, said Ghana’s youthful population could be an asset which could be harnessed for national development.
“Unfortunately, the youth have very limited opportunity to engage in governance processes beyond the exercise of their franchise,” she said.
She said a research conducted by the centre in 2018 showed that most of the party affiliated vigilante groups were made of young people in their active years.
Ms Amanfo said it was against that background that the centre, together with the foundation, saw the need to initiate the forum to bring the youth and political actors together to have dialogue towards enhancing youth participation in the political and governance processes.