A day’s engagement forum with some selected youth in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, on youth participation and political violence, has taken place in Paga, the district’s capital.
The Participants were basically executives of some registered youth groups in the district as well as other identifiable groups such as the district chapter of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled.
Addressing the forum which was held on Friday March 15, 2024, the District Director for the Social Welfare & Community Development [SW & CD] directorate, Madam Victoria Asuliwono observed that in Ghana today, there have been some pockets of violence and that, politics is often the chief factor in most instances. She thus commended the UNICEF for funding the engagement forum stressing that, “this day has been set aside to engage the youth to enable them understand and appreciate the consequences of political violence on themselves and the nation as a whole”.
Madam Asuliwono disclosed that some 30 representatives from 10 youth groups in the district and other identifiable associations had been invited for the deliberations. She stated that though there is nothing wrong with the youth getting actively involved in politics, they have often been used by some unscrupulous politicians as instruments of violence and that is very worrying for Ghana as a nation. She added that, the engagement with the youth on such a relevant topic was very timely, as the country was gradually navigating towards the general elections by December 2024.
The SW & CD Director was hopeful that, the selected group representatives will pay keen attention to the day’s discussions so as to be able to share all the details with their peers, parents and other stakeholders as that will be very helpful in ensuring a violence-free electioneering era; before, during and after the general elections. Meanwhile, she hinted that her office had plans in place, to hold similar engagements with additional youth groups in the East and West zones of the district.
District Chief Executive [DCE] for the area, Hon. Gerard Ataogye in his remarks to the youth, appealed to them to expunge from their minds, the long-time wrongly held notion that “politics is a dirty game”. He emphasized that, “there are indeed a few politicians who are dirty and bad but that does not in itself, make politics as a whole, a dirty game”. He argued that, there are countless examples of communities, districts and nations the world over, that have gained tremendous development and improved lives through politics and thus urged the youth not to shy away from politics but rather, abandon those bad nuts whose intention is to always use the youth to cause chaos for their own selfish interests.

Hon. Ataogye noted that violence and other forms of conflicts, have often deprived communities of essential amenities and crucial development as monies meant for these, were consequently diverted into peace keeping efforts including huge fuel expenses for patrols, and feeding for security personnel deployed to such violence-stricken areas. He recalled the Doba-Kandiga clashes which eventually got settled in the recent past and lamented how, his Assembly was up to date, still paying off some debts accruing out of the spending on that ugly portion of history in the district.

The DCE called on the youth in the district to make conscious efforts to always channel their vibrant youthful energies into productive ventures that will impact the society positively rather than kotow to the dictates of some selfish politicians.  

Kassena-Nankana West District Director for the National Commission on Civic Education [NCCE], Mr. Robert Dampare in a presentation on the topic “Youth Participation and Political Violence”, revealed that, as much as 38.2% of the country’s population comprised the youth. This figure emanates from Ghana’s 2021 Population and Housing Census. He noted that, this class of people, usually between the ages of 15 and 35 years, essentially hold the future of the country and so, if they embrace violence resulting from political activities, the nation will be doomed.

According to Mr. Dampare, the United Nations, refers to youth participation in governance as the active involvement of young people in decision-making processes that affect their lives and communities. It encompasses various forms of engagements, including but not limited to voting, advocacy, volunteerism, and political activism. He however cautioned the youth that, whilst they get actively involved in all of these, they should always be circumspect and watch the kind of political parties and political figures they affiliate with, as the wrong decisions will negatively affect not only them, but their families and communities as well. The NCCE Boss borrowed a definition of political violence from the Ghanaian Constitution, saying “political violence refers to any act or threat of physical force or intimidation directed towards individuals, groups, or communities for political purposes. This includes but is not limited to electoral violence, riots, and acts of terrorism”. He noted that this definition of the canker is broad and all-encompassing but stressed that, people who mean well in politics, can go about with their politicking without causing harm to any person, groups or communities in the process.



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