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Opinions of Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Columnist: Ansobie, Biliguo bie

The youth and politics II

Go everywhere on the streets, workplaces, corridors and the youth are discussing politics. The home and at leisure are not left out. This certainly spans beyond electioneering campaigns, the grassroots or foot soldiers take it with much seriousness as Presidential candidates and party chairmen themselves. Through information people talk as though they have close connections to the high places. The entire network for a good party is being coordinated as in a cult and people really identify as such. So they are keen to hear results been declared, monitoring the total process. And when elections are disputed the enthusiasm builds the more so as not to change the mandate of the people.

Whilst schools and colleges may be prohibited from taking part in active politics, politics become rife in the universities and polytechnics and most youth start taking part in active politics through student leadership like SRC and NUGS, both phenomena quite different from school prefectorial leadership in basic and second cycle institutions. A good number of our national politicians ever had a taste of such in their undergraduate days. University campuses become open to national politicians as even Vice Chancellors follow their country bosses from campus to campus. Usually, opposition leaders may be restrained from entering training institutions because of incumbency disadvantage.

The transition from school to world of work consequently make the loud-spoken ones firebrands who begin to criticize their governments on corruption and poor standards of living. This sometimes costs them their certificates, which could also create some justification for them to attain ministerial positions to shame the government concerned as well as the university superiors when they come into power. And it seems politicians are best in opposition since they criticize every ill of government but cower into silence when they assume the reins of power. They are like Satan’s role in preconditioning souls by trial; so they are quick to make claims when there are gains. And often times the old pledges of a mini-heaven have been replayed to their shame when they as incumbents cannot solve the very problems they lambasted the prior government on. They cry hue for time, a second chance, a tradition to fulfill their mandates, but to fill their mouths, do less talking. Individuals in communication teams are like intruding or barking dogs who cower into silence when a bone is flung upon them. The entire political landscape behave like the satirical Animal Farm in which freedom fighters eventually return to the oppressive boots of their hitherto tormentors on their fellow men. For this a friend sees political criticisms as vane and we should allow the status quo like Benjamin the donkey. But I see that we strive asymptotically towards perfection. If leaders are corrupt must we sit down because we know when they go the new ones coming will not be different. This seems base, mediocre, not even mediocre but unassumption and carelessness.

May be the bane and caliber of leaders we raise for society should be revisited in a new modus operandi. These people cannot get there without our mandate. The masses especially the parties should wield some kind of control over even the executive. I know children form the largest set but do not take part in elections because they are largely not informed and matured enough to know what is good for them. But the electorates (18 to 29 years) are the highest in any similar bracket. I do not anticipate a normal curve however because a whole lot of factors go in there to appoint people. While some presidents do it almost single-handedly without consultation others give an all-important task of ministerial appointments to a committee or even parliament. Any criteria notwithstanding the youth should not be left out. I am already passed the stated age bracket but has become voice of the voiceless, who have often been intimidated by their elders and those in party echelons when it comes to appointments to senior government positions. Their higher learning notwithstanding, they become afraid of accusations and fear of the unknown. I believe by learning you can know what you could have known in ten years’ time. The opponent often accuses you based on what you know, and then your weakness, what you don’t know. And if you know they describe special circumstances, and if you don’t have sufficient evidence to back yourself you are convicted as in court case, not because of absolute truth but lack of circumstantial evidence. We are not saying all the youth should charge and populate the entire political arena and make their elders their subjects, but plead for merit in special circumstances. Efforts could be made to groom leaders, we mentoring them based on our past mistakes, and their peculiar circumstances so as to take the mantle of leadership from us some day. I think I stated this point earlier somewhere. We are so engrossed with parochialism so much so that we don’t want our mentees to be better than us some day, lest it be our children, and that could amount to monarchism or even discrimination.

For the youth knowledge is the key. There are people in top government positions who never dreamt of being in politics while those who were post-conscious never attain anywhere. This statement is by no means exhaustive. When you come to your right senses by defining your path for life then there can be progress. Also, one may not be bound to have a definitive career since this can alter in a matter of time. Even a rolling stone finally attains stability. Too much time must not be spent making mistakes. This is why I find the Abraham Lincoln type of sharpening an axe ludicrous.

At the community (polling station) and constituency levels, the youth become so much involved so that when there is change of government they even go beyond bounds as of enthusiasm to lock public offices. Here, politics follows a sort of tradition and close attention is paid to governance structures. The constituency executives wield so much power in appointments of DCES and other district level appointments and this may be distributed among zonal areas. I think it favours decentralization. (Some out of authority arrogate powers to themselves by cramming several posts on their chests while bereaving others). I don’t belief they should dictate to their superiors in an attempt to fit square pegs in round holds.

Ghana has had DCEs and Members of Parliament appointed or elected at 25. Africa abounds in ministers appointed in their twenties, as early as 23. What made these people special and cannot make us so. Until you discover you are swan among ducklings you might think you are an ugly duckling. Life does not restrict itself in politics alone, you may start with business and it can consequently land you in politics directly or indirectly since politics affects all facets of society.

Again, classical cases of youth in responsible political positions abounds in the continent and elsewhere. In South Africa alone we have Lindiwe Mazibuko, Gareth Morgan, Pat Labenga-Ntanzi as well as Julius Malema. In Ghana Joseph Yiele-Chireh, Totobi Quakyi and Zita Okaikwei, Felix Ofosu Kwakye are worth mentioning. We also have Nurudeen Mohammed of Nigeria. Others are Bharrat Jageo of Guyana, Igor Luksic of Montenegro, Urmas Paet of Estonia as well as Vera Kobala of Georgia. Steven Sim of Malasia and Daniel Bahr of Germany too have their notable circumstances.

We are all working with respect to time, perhaps to get work, marry, build our homes, go for further studies, establish businesses and so forth. I have often jokingly said everyone will eventually build a house, at least with his pension money. We must not live a life of mediocre and complacency but surge for the best through our skills acquired. The knowledge we acquire can turn can turn things round. New pathways are carved based on our previous knowledge. My lecturer ever told me no new original contribution to knowledge can stand on its own. It draws literary background and indeed standing from many other works. The future is now, it begins today. We must be empowered to function. It is the knowledge we acquire from so many sources and its rightful application than can make us succeed. Knowledge is all about combination and life all about choices. This should not be confused with merely get rich quick; we do not rob anyone, we use our abilities, we have the justification.

Whilst various national delegates conferences of leading parties in Ghana are ahead let us be mindful of the youth and let us not throw them away after victory. Like Obama, yes, we can.