MPs: Youth must have exposure for higher political positions

The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu, has admonished the youth to have some political exposure and recognition, including offering themselves as party volunteers, before being allowed for higher political positions.

He explained that despite the legal voting age being constitutionally pegged at 18, about 12 years were spent in basic and secondary education, and still needed to be mentored and trained before assigned to serve in higher political positions.

Parliament, on Tuesday, began discussions for reduction of ages allowed by the 1992 Constitution, to qualify for election as president and Member of Parliament (MP), to enable more young men to serve the country at the highest political offices.

The country has a youthful population. Majority of the citizenry are below the age of 35 and according to the 2010 population census, 46.5 per cent of the population are below the age of 24.

Ernest Norgbey, MP for Ashaiman Constituency, noted that “if an individual is old enough to vote and decide on what political culture he prefers, then that person is old enough to hold a portfolio.  If an individual of 21 is old enough to make laws, he should be able enough to implement the laws,” he said and quizzed why an immature person should make laws for the mature to obey and implement.

According to him, “Individuals, especially the youth, are motivated by considerations of self-interest when they get involved in politics. If a rational human being attained voting age to know who is fit to be in power as stipulated in the constitution, the youth must as well be rational enough to contest position or be involved in high-level politics.”

Mr Norgbey identified the reservation of leadership roles to the elderly as challenging and made a strong case for the youth to be given space in political leadership as he cited examples of former President Jerry Rawlings leading the nation in his 30’s.

 Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications and MP for Ablekuma West Constituency, called for demonetisation of politics, giving a certain percentage or quota of allocated funds to aspiring MPs who are 35 and below saying “it is not enough for the country to pride itself with the youngest MPs in Africa, but let’s go beyond to have more of the youth in parliament and other higher levels of the political office.”

Dr Bernice Heloo, MP for Hohoe Constituency, suggested adoption of young females and mentoring them to take up political leadership roles and later fill in gaps when the present female adults exit their political positions. –gna.org

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