The Minority Chief Whip of the Ghana National Students’ Parliament, Mr Bright Habita, has called on the government to expedite action on the launch of the Ghana Youth Parliament.
That, he said, would offer a platform for the youth to identify their place, take on their responsibilities and become tools for development and become empowered.
Speaking in an interview in Kumasi, he said the role of the youth in any country was of utmost significance in nation building, adding that the youth were arguably regarded as the strong forces and the cornerstone behind the success of any country.
He said countries which optimally tapped the knowledge and skills of their youth and productively utilised them were more developed while countries which failed to realise the importance of their youth lagged behind in every sphere of life.
“The youth will be deficient and ineffective to take charge of affairs, if the right institutions are not put in place to empower them. This and many other options will guarantee building the youth for a brighter future and to help them overcome the new challenges that confront them in today’s society”, he stated.
He recalled that a former president of the United States of America, Franklin D. Roosevelt, once said that: “We cannot always build the future for our youth but we can build our youth for the future.”
He said the African Union in 2006 enacted the African Youth Charter quoting Article 11(2b) of the Charter, which succinctly instructs states parties to “facilitate the creation or strengthening of platforms for youth participation in decision-making at local, national, regional, and continental levels of governance”.
He further said that Article 12 of the same Charter instructed State Parties to develop a comprehensive and coherent national youth policy.
“The youth must be integrated into the mainstream of active participation in democratic governance. In view of this, I will urge the government to expedite action on the launching of its envisioned non-partisan Ghana Youth Parliament, which was conceived by the Public Affairs Directorate of the Parliament of Ghana in 1997”, he stated.
He cited some African countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and Malawi, for having fully recognised the dire challenges and great opportunities the youth present and their role in participatory democracy by establishing youth parliaments to deliberate on policies and programmes that affect their lives.
He added that indeed, innumerable successes had been recorded in the aforementioned countries, saying that “Ghana must not be seen as closing its door to these substantial benefits. Ghana will be proud to stand up to be counted after chalking enormous successes in democratic practice in the sub-region”.
Joseph Kyei-Boateng, Kumasi