Youth participation in politics and elections has always been fundamental in the evolution of Ghana’s political landscape. Their active engagement in politics has in the past engineered regime changes and other significant events in Ghana’s political history.
As part of efforts to promote peace in Ghana, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD Ghana) co-created the Multi-stakeholder Consultative Platform on Peace and Governance. The platform, as part of its activities for the year, engaged young people in Tamale on the role of the youth in peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
Speaking at the engagement with the youth of Tamale, Melody Azinim, Peace and Governance Analyst at UNDP emphasized that, the growing youth population in the country has made it very important to instill the values of peace, equity and freedom, especially pertaining to democratic practice. She indicated that, young people are innovative and have the power to be positive change agents in the country, hence the need to leverage their power, strength and voice for the promotion of peace and stability towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially SDG 16.
“As young people we must remember we have a great future ahead of us and posterity will never forgive us if we allow ourselves to be agents in plunging this country into chaos. Let’s support the promotion of peace, before, during and after the 2020 polls”, she urged.
In his presentation on the role of young people in peace building, Fr. Thaddeus Kuusah, Executive Secretary of the Northern Regional Peace Council, admonished the youth to be change agents in their communities. He noted that the youth can do this by changing their attitudes towards people, traditions, religion and beliefs and should learn to combine their enthusiasm with patience. He emphasized the need for them to live together harmoniously and be responsible for defending the frontiers of peace and non-violence.
According to Fr. Thaddeus Kuusah, empirical evidence suggests that young people have been victims of radicalization in most political processes across the country. He called on all political leaders to rather engage the youth to contribute to development programmes and create a culture of peace and conflict free environment for them to realize their full potentials.
Participants at the event pledged to rise up as youth for Ghana, and devote their strength, influence and power to support the campaign for peace building.
“We commit to peace and are thankful to UNDP and CDD for this reminder that has awaken our patriotism as young people to desist from violent activities. We will work together as youth groups to ensure peace is maintained in the Tamale Metropolis and beyond”, Yakubu Abdul Daanim Yunsaa, Tamale Regional Youth Organizer, Progressive Peoples Party.
The event brought together about 400 young people from second cycle schools, tertiary institutions, and political party leaders in the Tamale Metropolis.