Activista Ghana, a movement of young people under the auspices of ActionAid Ghana, a Non- Governmental Organisation, has reiterated calls for the amendment of the 1992 Constitution to enhance youth participation and inclusion in national governance.
The group said young people formed majority of the country’s population but their potentials had not been harnessed for national development due to the discriminative laws and policies preventing them from taking up national leadership roles.
It advocated specifically for urgent steps to be taken to amend Article 62 of the 1992 Constitution to reduce the age requirement of the President from 40 years to 35 years to give opportunity to young people to lead the country.
The Upper East Regional Chapter of the movement made the call in Bolgatanga as part of activities marking this year’s International Youth Day on the theme, “Intergenerational solidarity: creating a world for all ages”.
Mr Nicholas Azebire, the Regional Coordinator of the Movement acknowledged the efforts being made to encourage youth involvement in local governance but noted that requirement for national leadership, particularly the office of the President remained a big challenge confronting the youth.
He said countries such as France which had young people as heads of states developed steadily and Ghana needed to emulate such examples and amend the Constitution.
That would not only help to deepen youth participation in national governance but would help fight corruption which had over the years retarded development and deepened the poverty cycle of the vulnerable.
Per the 1992 Constitution, a Ghanaian of sound mind at 18 years can vote to determine a President and Member of Parliament (MP) and at 25, one stands the chance of becoming an MP but must wait to turn 40 before contesting the office of the President.
“Without malice, if as a country, we feel comfortable electing leaders in their 60s, 70s, and above, who by law should have retired, as presidents, we should not have difficulty electing a 35-year-old as president since such a person per the natural order has more days to live.
“Such a person would be mindful of his or her policies and curb corruption to not suffer the negative consequences of the rotten system created while in office for the rest of his or her life.
“We use this opportunity to call on government and parliament to make the necessary amendments to allow for more youth participation. The youth cannot only be good enough to be used to cause mayhem,” he said.
Mr Azebire also called on the government to urgently address the unemployment situation facing the youth and rising cost of living among Ghanaians to ensure peace and harmony.
“As a youth group, we recognise that the energy of this youthful population if not properly redirected towards the path of progress could pose a heavy threat to the peace and security of African Nations and this explains why there are growing concerns of insecurity, conflicts, and petty fights largely involving the youth,” he added.
The Regional Coordinator urged the Ghanaian youth to eschew negative attitudes and focus on equipping themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills to well position them to take advantage of opportunities to contribute to nation building.
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