The youth have been asked to show keen interest in the country’s electoral process and ensure that it was transparent enough to guarantee free and fair elections in December.
Additionally, they must avoid political entrepreneurs who would use them to cause political violence for their parochial interest and eschew all forms of violence and champion the course of peace and harmony before, during and after the December 7 polls.
Dr Kenneth Aikins, a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Peace Studies at the School for Development Studies , University of Cape Coast (UCC) who gave the advice urged them to abide by the principles and values that had sustained the peace in the country over the years.
He made the appeal at a day’s dialogue with youth leaders and other stakeholders on “ensuring a violent free Ghana, before, during and after 2020 election in Ghana: The role of the youth,” in Cape Coast on Thursday.
The meeting, organized by the Central Regional office of the National Youth Authority (NYA) brought together key stakeholders including; traditional and religious leaders, political parties and selected youth leaders from across the Region.
It was to discuss ways to prevent violence through vigilantism ahead of this year’s general election.
Dr Aikins charged the youth to be focused, exert their energies into productive ventures and shun acts of political vigilantism in the run-up to this year’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
They must preach peace in their various communities and impart the knowledge they had acquired to others to engender national development.
To achieve that,Dr Aikins asked them to be tolerant of varied political opinions, uphold the spirit of discernment, national unity, peace, cohesion and patriotisms.
That way, they must promote inter-party dialogue and disseminate the outcomes with membership of the political parties to understand and act on them.
“We need to live in peaceful co-existence with all irrespective of religion or tribal background to consolidate the unity and love the country had enjoyed over the years,” he added.
Outlining some factors that guaranteed free and fair elections, Dr Aikins stressed the need to prioritise freedom of speech for candidates, media and associations, free of fear of impairments to electoral campaigns and universal adult suffrage.
Mr Emmanuel Marley, the Regional Director of NYA underscored the need for the youth to resolve to do everything possible and necessary to lend support, sustain peace and “avoid using violence to settle issues”.
He told the youth to step up peace sensitisation in their various communities and educate others in their communities to uphold peace for national development.