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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Columnist: Appiah, Nana

Nkrumah’s legacy to the Ghanaian youth

Kwame Nkrumah has been known globally as a great Pan-African whose lifetime feats are documented in the spheres of ideology, political liberation, visionary leadership, authorship, socioeconomic policy, infrastructural development, among others. However, little is known about his legacy to the young people of Ghana.
TYDE GHANA, a social democratic organization, has discovered a testament of political legacy written by the nation’s Founder to the youth of Ghana. The focus of this political legacy was mass democracy but the theoretical ideology was carved around the African communitarian scenario to achieve scientific socialism.
In this body of knowledge, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah identifies youth organization as an important part of an overall political strategy. He placed a premium on underprivileged, mass and youth mobilization in the general framework of party organization. This was rooted in theory and conscious ideology to evolve a vision of the kind of society and nation a people want to build. In 1960, the Nkrumah government set up a Young Pioneers Movement to instil a high sense of patriotism, respect and love for country in the Ghanaian youth, albeit it was later criticized as a forum for indoctrination, encouraging children to spy on their parents.
Nkrumah’s political strategy involving the youth remained enigmatic to his political opponents. Young people brought renewed thinking, idealism and energy to political processes. These factors are still beneficial to the society as it was in the era of independence.
In contemporary times, Former President Rawlings has observed that Africa’s culture must reflect our modern understanding of democracy where the youth must be adequately groomed for a good succession plan. Young Ghanaians, who intend to participate in the governance of this country, according Former President Kufour, must undergo proper tutelage in leadership, governance and politics. The administrations of the late Prof. Atta Mills and President JDMahama have further given young people opportunities to serve in government.
The quest for effective leadership, in the view of TYDE GHANA, is also a quest for holistic leadership. Our educational facilities and faith-based organizations are sure spots to initiate most semblances of leadership and political participation. Civil society organization and youth political groupings must emerge to play active roles in their mother or national political parties, immediate communities and the international arena.
Owing to modern platforms for interactions among young people all over the world, ageing leaders and political stalwarts must consider grooming upcoming leaders for both transitional and international takeovers. Aside from national aspirations for participation in MMDCE, Parliamentary and Presidential contests, there exist other leadership positions at the ECOWAS, AU and UN blocs. Many fore-bearers in these endeavours have mustered rudimentary principles of self-discipline, conviction, diligence, determination and timing. Education, history, culture and ideology are other aspects of leadership wings every would-be leader should consciously know.
The UN recognizes that the formal inclusion of youth in the decision-making process of politics otherwise it could impact on quality progressive democratic governance. Political organizations must identify and address context-specific legal barriers to youth participation, campaign for youth quotas in electoral laws and lobby fiercely for those proposed changes. Further, the UNDP posits that capacity development for young candidates, for example, has proven to be more effective as a continuous effort than as a one-off event three months before an election. It is important to groom young people into leadership. A society that cuts itself off from its youth, according to Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, severs its lifeline; it is condemned to bleed to death.

NANA APPIAH
TYDE Communications Team