Press statement: Youth NGO highlights how the youths are being sidelined on key decision making positions

PRESS STATEMENT ON WOMEN & YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN REDNESS FOR THE 2019 TRIPARTITE ELECTION

28TH FEBRUARY, 2018

The launch of the 2019 elections by the Electoral Commission sets the tone for a free, fair and credible election. It also demonstrates the state of preparedness on the part of our elections management body in ensuring that all logistical requirements are put in place so that we have a transparent and credible process which is a prerequisite in our democratization process.
Elections as you are aware are not an activity, but a process which all stakeholders must walk together.

Having said that Centre for Young Leaders in Africa observes with regret that despite strides in our democratization, women and the youth are still struggling to find space in our politics.
The role of women in our political parties remains that of mere entertainers, while the youths are still being used as tools for political violence. As a result, policies that seek to change the status of our women and youths in society are never a priority of our political parties and governments.

In this regard, we urge political parties to come up with affirmative action which will result in many women and youth taking part as candidates in the forth coming tripartite elections. This means that the internal nomination processes must be clear and transparent, in order to allow more women and youth to participate in the processes.

We cannot have more women parliamentarians if we don’t encourage them to stand as candidates in our various political parties. Likewise we cannot have more
youth in decision making positions if we don’t encourage and support them to aspire for the positions.

Therefore the Centre for Young leaders in Africa would like to encourage women and youth to actively participate in politics as well as in the electoral process.
The youth should realize that their roles should not be meant to be instigators or perpetuators of political violence but rather they should demonstrate a sense of leadership as they form the majority of the population.

As a country we need home grown policies which clearly define the problems which our women and youth are facing and offer tangible solutions.
Ongoing initiatives whose objectives are to increase the number of women and youths in leadership positions ought to be supported not only through word of mouth but action on the ground.
It is for this reason that we commit ourselves to ensuring that the 50:50 campaigns become a huge success. We seek to use this initiative to encourage female young people to participate in politics and contest for positions at both Local Council and the National Assembly.

A democracy where women and youth are not recognized as key players loses its meaning. It is against this back ground that we make a special appeal to all political parties in the country to provide space to their women and youths to contest during their conventions so that they have a place at the highest decision making body of political parties of their choice.
Secondly we appeal to political parties to create a conducive environment for women and youth to be able to represent their parties in the 2019 tripartite elections as candidates.
More importantly we urge all political parties to develop manifestos which clearly defines strategies on how the challenges which women and youths face in politics are going to be dealt with once and for all.

As Centre for Young Leaders in Africa we will work with all likeminded organizations in making sure that this becomes a reality and not just a dream. Of course this requires technical and monetary support and we are confident that CYLA will get that support from those who value democracy as a good system of governance.
The onus now is on women and youths to seize the opportunity and demand space. Women and youth should not shun politics but rather demand for political space. If you do not demand it, nobody will give it to you. The time is now, rise and demand the political space.

Thank you for your attention.

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