Opinions of Sun, 14 Apr 20191

Unpacking the misconceptions about politics of the youth

Politics in Ghana at the present time is equated with selfishness, deceit, bribery, corruption and nepotism. This notion of many has gone a long way to denigrate the clear intent of politics as a peaceful process of organising the social structure to let everyone pursue his/her life in his/her own way without any inconvenience to others. Without politics, the world wouldn’t be a better place to live as there wouldn’t be law and order to guide the actions and inactions of people, and people will defame and kill the less privileged without an authority to hold them accountable.

The flame of political power is so overwhelming that politicians often tend to do things which have negative implications on the people that they represent. However, that is not to say that the youth has no political sense to initiate prudent decisions and innovations that could help alleviate the people from their current shackles of life. Despite a growing misconception of the youth being highly-tempered in taking critical decisions, the youth hardly listen to the views of others, the youth being self-centred etc the youth have been making remarkable innovations in many spheres of our lives.

For instance, the Braille language for the blind was developed by Louis Braille in 1824, when he was just 15 years old. In 1958, at age 15, Bobby Fischer became the youngest to be named grandmaster, the highest title possible. So, whoever thinks that the youth should not actively involved in politics need to take inspiration from the above named genius.

In our real lives, and for society to actually develop just like we envisioned, we must take inspiration as youth of today, from a German theatre practitioner, playwright and poet who says that “The worst illiterate is a political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.”

Politically involving yourself in politics doesn’t necessarily mean that you are running for a political office or actively belonging to a political party. What it means is that the person should know what actually goes on in the country with respect to policies passed by government on health, education, roads, agriculture and what the government has put in place to avert future unforeseen circumstances against what have been planned about.

Not involving yourself in politics of your country means you care less about the real concerns that can impact your life and others. You should be able to, as a citizen and a political whistle blower, be able to identify the real problems of the day and trash it out from the issues which have no impact on the people. In so doing, you tell the government what bothers you the most and not what it thinks it is. For example, government could pass laws on communal issues on the public whiles diverting the attention from real issues like political party vigilantism, unemployment, corruption and developing key sectors of the economy.

In view of the disinterest and voter apathy by majority of the youth of this generation in deciding who leads them and what needs to be done, it is now time for the youth to be actively involved in the day-to-day activities of the country. It is time for the youth to know how the country is being governed - this will inform him/her in projecting a beneficial national movement to combat anything which violates the sovereign will of the people.

In so doing, the youth will be able to criticise constructively to get policies working for the benefit of the masses. When the youth, who are considered and touted as the future bearers of our nation cannot understand the political governance structure of our country for the simple reason that politics is a dirty game, politics is not for the youth etc, then how can they govern when the old ones are gone? As youth, just like the youth in Algeria and Sudan, much attention must be paid to issues of good governance, public safety, economic development and government accountability towards the public and not a selected cohorts.

It is now time for the youth to actively involve themselves in the politics of the day and be well prepared to take up the mantle of leadership. Sorry to say that we have had leaders in Africa who have gone on retirement, with some clearly not healthy for leadership position but chooses not to accept the status quo. Logically, those people could have been consultants to the youth at the background. So the monopoly of old leaders in almost all the major political parties in the world have this feature. Our countries could only see real development when the old serve as consultants after retirement so that the youth wouldn’t be misled in their policy initiations.

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