Accra, June 22, GNA - Stakeholders at a workshop on post-election violence have called on government to address the high rate of youth unemployment in the Odododiodoo Constituency in Accra to curb political violence in the area.
The constituency was one of the few areas in the country where pockets of violence were recorded before and during the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Speaking at the workshop in Accra, both constituency executives of the two major political parties; the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), as well as the Assemblyman for the area, chiefs and opinion leaders, agreed that the lack of viable economic opportunities for the youth in the area contributed to the political hostilities.
Mr Carlos Mankattah, the Assemblyman for the Kinka Electoral Area, explained that idleness and joblessness made the youth susceptible to the whims of political parties which used them to inflict pain on their opponents in the area, leading to loss of lives and destruction of property.
He, therefore, appealed to government to provide more economic opportunities through youth empowerment initiatives to equip them with the needed employable skills to make a living.
“The major cause of violence here is youth unemployment and as we all know; the devil finds work for the idle hand, but I believe that if these youths were gainfully employed they would not be available for recruitments for such activities.
“Government must therefore provide opportunities for these teeming youth through youth empowerment programmes to curb future political violence,” Mr Mankattah appealed.
The workshop, organised by the National Peace Council with support from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), aimed at building consensus among stakeholders to strengthen mechanisms for greater national cohesion, political tolerance, peace-building and nation-building.
Funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat, it was held on the theme: “Countering Post-2020 Election Violence and Building Consensus for Greater Political Tolerance in Ghana.”
The meeting was attended by constituency executives from the NDC and NPP, Assembly members, official from the Electoral Commission, among others.
Statistics from the World Bank indicate that, Ghana is faced with 12 percent youth unemployment and more than 50 percent underemployment, both higher than overall unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan African countries.
Findings from a recent study by the NCCE on the risk and threat analysis of violent extremism in 10 border regions of the country showed that unemployed youth were the segment of the population highly susceptible to be recruited to perpetrate acts of violence, while political actors were perceived to be the main sponsors of violent extremism.
Mr Issaka Amu Collison, Constituency Vice Chairman of the NDC, reiterated calls for the reform of the recruitment processes of the security agencies to ensure that only qualified persons were recruited into the services to build public trust and confidence.
Mr Habib Mohammed, Constituency Treasurer for the NPP, called for politics devoid of insults to avoid retaliation from the offended faction.
Rt. Reverend Samuel Osabutey, Chairman, Greater Accra Regional Peace Council, said even though Ghana was generally regarded as the oasis of peace in the sub region, recent pockets of communal-based violent conflicts and sporadic outbreaks of violence in the country’s elections called for concern.
“These pockets of conflicts and sporadic violence if not dealt with could easily undermine the democratic gains of the country,” he emphasised.
He, therefore, cautioned Ghanaians to desist from acts that could jeopardise the peace the nation currently enjoys.
Mrs Lucille Hewlett Annan, Greater Accra Regional Director of NCCE, advised the parties to use the agreed conflicts resolution mechanisms such as the law courts and the Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms to address their grievances to promote peace.
The workshop is expected to be replicated in four other constituencies where violence was recorded during the 2020 general elections; Ablekuma Central, Awutu Senya East, Savulugu and Techiman South constituencies.