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Youth and Elections

Young people make up about 60% of Africa’s population (UN Youth 2010) and about 58% of Ghana’s voting population. Projections are that the youth aged 18 to 35 years constituted over 65% of the 2016 voting populations. However, this important segment of the population is not only vulnerable to be exploited as Macho Men due to unemployment, but they also lack understanding of electoral and campaign issues. In this regard, the continued absence of coordinated youth-focused educational programmes to simplify election debates and sensitize youth on non-violent participation leaves much to be desired.

 

As Ghana's 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections drew closer, there was a heightened anxiety and fear of violence owing to the fact that Elections in Africa have often yielded some of the dreaded conflicts. Examples abound in Kenya, Ivory Coast and other parts of the continent.

 

Ghanaians went into the 2016 elections knowing that Ghana had received praise from the international community as a model of democracy in Africa, having peacefully conducted six previous elections which were largely violent-free, though there were equally minor incidents of violence resulting in the categorisation of some constituencies and polling stations as violent flash points.

 

The pre-election strategies put in place by the Police or the National Election Security Task Force have largely contributed to perhaps one of the most peaceful elections in the Fourth Republic which saw the election of Nana Akufo Addo on the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as the President-elect for Ghana.

 

It is therefore very regrettable to hear of reported attacks by some youths belonging to the NPP, the winning party who are supposed to be happy with the victory. The question one asks is, what would be happening to Ghana if the NPP had lost the elections. The Police must therefore act quickly to nib this isolated cases of post-election violence in the bud before more deaths are recorded.

 

 

 

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