OVER 450 Senior High School (SHS) students, who were first time voters in the just-ended December 7, 2020 elections, have been schooled on matters regarding the country’s elections.
The one day Conference initiated and sponsored by the GAR 2nd Vice Chair was on the theme: “The importance of youth participation in formal political processes.”
Using the Dzatabu Youth Lions Club as Coordinators, these target groups registered for the programme and confirmed their participation via WhatsApp.
Assuring the students of their safety and security, coaster buses were hired to commute them from and to their picking points: within, Tema West, Tema East, Tema Central and Ashaiman Constituencies.
Importance of youth participation in formal political processes
Dr. Benjamin Ashitey, who contested the Tema East Parliamentary primaries but lost, took the students through the Conference Theme.
After defining politics, political participation, he listed Voting (most common, Campaigning, Voter education Registering to vote, Liaising with politicians, Holding politicians accountable (Protesting /petitioning),Joining a political party, Contesting /Standing for elections as some forms of political participation.
He added that youth participation in politics was important because it ensures responsive, all inclusive participatory and representative decision-making at all levels and equal distribution of national resources.
The exercise was also to ensure meaningful democracy (Active citizens, partner for peace), experience to take over the baton of leadership (build skills among the youth), ensures the demand for accountability and aids in policy corrections, increase in transparency and accessibility, increase in grassroots democracy improvement and helps in reducing corruption and deviant behaviors.
Safety and security
DSP Eric Amponsah took the students through general security tips and heads up on how they should conduct them during elections.
He also highlighted the activities of armed robbers and fraudsters while advising them to take their personal security serious; and ended with some tips on do’s and dont’s.
Rudiments of voting
The GAR 2nd Vice, Joana Frances Adda took them through the processes of voting by demonstrating how to correctly thumb print on their choice of preference.
The GAR 2nd Chair told the students that they are ONE of the many reasons why Ghanaians voted for His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2016.
The Free SHS policy. Parents know what they go thorough paying fees, putting food on the table etc. Mothers sell their jewelry, cloth; fathers go for loans, sell their lands etc. They should therefore appreciate the sigh of relief this policy has brought to parents.
The GAR tutored the students how in 2013, 90,694 students, though computer selected, could not go to school because of no fees. In 2014, 113,260 could not go to school. In 2015, 115,363 could not go to school. 111,336 students could not go to school in 2016. With the introduction of free SHS in 2017, all the 470,000 computer selected students enrolled and admitted in various schools.. However, 38,000 out of the total, some went to private schools, others travelled abroad to school and some others decided to improve their grades.
Their facial expression, seeing the numbers that could not attend SHS, was a sad one. When they were exposed to the monies that have gone into free SHS, School infrastructure, (GHc848 million), Covid-19 related, Water, Electricity interventions and many other projects, the students were quick to responded to the GAR 2nd Vice’s question – “what would have happened to these monies have gone if His Excellency Nana ADDO had not towed this direction?” They shouted – “individual pockets”