TAMALE: WANEP to form Inter-Party Youth committees to forestall violence in 2012
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To help minimize political related violence during the 2012 general elections, the West African Network for Peace Building-Ghana (WANEP) is forming Inter-Party Youth Dialogue Committees (IPYDCs) to promote peace in identified conflict hotspots in the country.
Tamale, Yendi, Gushiegu, Ho, Sunyani, Takoradi and Kumasi have been identified as the political prone conflict flashpoints in the country in which the IPYDCs are to be formed.
Mr Justin Bayor, National Coordinator of WANEP-Ghana, revealed this at the launch of the “Youth in Election (YiEL) Project” in Tamale on Friday.
The Project, which is on the theme: “Harnessing the power of the youth for peace in 2012,” is to be implemented on a pilot basis for six months in the selected areas and supported by the Canadian High Commission, IBIS, Christian Aid and GIZ.
Representatives of political parties including National Democratic Congress, New Patriotic Party, Convention Peoples Party, Peoples National Convention as well as the National Commission on Civic Education and other Non Governmental Organizations attended the launch of the Project.
Mr Bayor said the idea to form the IPYDCs was due to a research conducted by WANEP-Ghana on behalf of the United Nations in four conflict hotspots in the country which indicated that violence was mostly spearheaded by the youth during elections.
He said the IPYDCs, when formed, would regularly undertake joint activities geared towards promoting understanding and peace in their communities.
“By working together, it would increase awareness amongst the youth and help to dispel rumors which in the long run will assist in mitigating violence in their communities,” Mr Bayor said.
Mr Moses Bukari Mabengba, Northern Regional Minister, in a speech read for him, commended WANEP-Ghana and its partners for taking the initiative to create a platform to educate the youth in responsible ways of getting involved in mainstream national politics.
He observed that the youth in view of their numbers and exuberance were vulnerable and therefore at times used by some unscrupulous politicians as tools for mischief such as riots, demonstrations and electoral fraud during elections.
He, therefore, called on other civil society organizations and NGOs to join the course of WANEP-Ghana to form more platforms to sensitise the youth for a violent-free 2012 election.
The Regional Minister used the occasion to appeal to CSOs and NGOs to buy into the National Youth Policy, which was recently launched, to draw up programmes that would engage the youth by giving them employment.
Eileen Stewart, First Secretary (Development) and Programme Analyst of the Canadian High Commission, described Ghana as a beacon of democracy and a shinning example in promoting peace and stability in the West African sub-region.
She urged the country to jealously guard against her peace and democracy as any conflict could derail the country’s development process.