By Omar Bah
The Minister of Youth & Sport Bakary Badjie has called on young people to maintain decorum and desist from all forms of political sentiments throughout the electoral process and focus on politics of issues and policies.
Minister Badjie was speaking at the opening of five days African Union and African Governance Architecture sponsored National Training of Trainers on Youth Participation in Electoral Processes.
The training will enable participants to articulate reasons why the youth must participate in political and electoral processes, identify continental best practices, and contribute to the increase and sustenance of youth participative value in political and electoral process among other things.
Addressing the meeting, Minister Badjie reminded the young people of the important role they could play in the electoral processes.
“As we prepare for the December 4th presidential election, it is our responsibility to maintain decorum throughout the electoral process. We advise the youth to be involved in the politics of ideas and desist from politics of sentiments because sentiments cannot develop a country,” Minister Badjie said.
He said the peaceful participation of youths in the country’s electoral process “is as important as their participation in national development activities.”
“Cognizant of the critical role youth play in the electoral processes, the National Youth Council and its satellite institutions under the Ministry of Youth are playing a key role in making sure that the youth are empowered through capacity building training,” he said.
He urged the trainees to take the process very seriously so that they could use the knowledge gained to impact other young people around the country.
“The government of President Adama Barrow recognises the crucial role young people play in our electoral process,” he said.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, ACHPR representative, Lindiwe Khumalo said: “In defining the African Agenda in the next five years, AU heads of states and governments conceive of Africa that is economically strong, that has its political and governance systems in place, sort peace for itself and an Africa that has strong voice and case in the global arena.
“But as they look at the 50-year plan for the continent they also took a moment to take stuck of the resources – what would it take for Africa to come to its own and doing so African leaders identified Africa’s youths as a critical population that would be important to harness in order to achieve this goal,” he said.
Madam Khumalo said the AU understanding the importance the young people play has opened up the space for the youth to be effectively involved in the continent’s decision making.
The Acting Head of the African Governance Architecture, APSA secretariat, Salah Hammad said the genesis of the training of trainers was conceived from an assessment conducted by an African Governance Architecture Mission in Banjul in 2019 which was sent to assess the state of youth participation in the electoral and political processes on the country.
“The Mission report identified among other things the need for increased investment on capacities of youth through targeted training programs,” he said.