How to mis-focus a National Youth Organisation: The Case of Ghana
A decade or more of active “youth” engagement Ghana became independent; thanks to the women and (again) the youth. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s was 38 years when he assumed the role of the “opposition leader” in the then Gold Coast as Ghana was called. At 42, he became leader of “Government Business (the colonial title for the de facto Prime Minister).
I write this piece because since 1820 ca (when the Fante Confederacy was formed), the predominant people in politics on the colony until its “independence” has been the youth. At this time, youth have remained confined to the people under 40; indeed, any male without grey hair of infirmity was a “youth”.
From the time the Fante Confederacy was formed, young people have been used, abused and used to cause mayhem in our political sphere.
However, while each political regime including the military have had their vision as making things better for the youth. They have had to get the “approval” of the youth to be legitimate. That notwithstanding, youth are yet to be recognised in Ghana.
The last election in Ghana was about which political party could marshal the highest number of youth on social media, as its “spokes persons” and spin doctors. Apparently, the NDC won because by the parameters set, they appealed more to the youth of Ghana than the NPP or CPP and the PPP.
Before shooting down this argument, first answer the following:
- Who were the graphic designers behind all the cute T-shirts?
- Who designed and maitained the social media pages and networks the party’s used?
- Who did the organisation of rallies and built the campaign platforms?
- Who did the dancing and jingle production?
- Who wrote the campaign songs?
- And I could go on, and on
For the last 30 years, we have tried as a country to develop, fund and implement a comprehensive youth development programme. Each year, we either hear scandals after scandals about the implementation of these programmes (the latest being the GYEEDA report).
The last 21 years has been dedicated to developing ONE youth policy. In 2011, the said policy was launched in Elmina by the then Vice President J. D Mahama (now President). The document was not complete. Indeed as of the launch there was no print copy available and the copy used by the Vice President was a stapled desktop print-out (shows the seriousness attached to the document).
Fast forward, last couple of weeks was the international youth day (IYD), one would expect that the Ghana Youth Authority would issue a statement – but no. Their facebook page was blank!
And I have personally questioned the leadership of the Executive Director of the Youth Authority and the powers of its board. But that is for another day!
So 2 hours ago, the Authority issues a statement on social media about the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on the impending election petition. Question is, why?
Of course, Mrs. Sedinam Tamakloe is a government appointee, her allegiance is to the President not the millions of young Ghanaians that made Mr. Mahama President. Her allegiance is to the people that can keep her in office while she runs for Member of Parliament.
To dance to the tune of her masters, she has issued a statement calling on the youth of Ghana to be calm…blah, blah, blah.
In all the matters around the GYEEDA (a project about youth, for youth), we are yet to an official statement from the Ghana Youth Authority (GYA)!
I say again to the board of the GYA that, the Authority is for the YOUTH of Ghana, that these youth are tired of being used and dumped, that statements like this will soon not be enough to calm the hungry, tired, unappreciated, disillusioned disenchanted youth of Ghana.
Soon, these youth will be chasing you the board members and the cohort that form “Government”. Soon, it will not be safe to walk on the streets as a politician. I pray that day does not come but only you have the power to not make it happen. In the meantime, I hope it does so we can rid some of the nastiness and opulence that makes our current leadership.
We shall overcome! We will win and the young people of Ghana will and shall be shown appreciation.
God Bless Our Homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong!
NB: read the GYA’s statement here.
S. Eyram Tsike-Sossah holds Msc Political Science from the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of “Youth and Local Governance: Youth Participation in Local Governance: Bringing Youth to Decision Making in Sierra Leone“