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Under 40 president good, but…

botchway July 31, 2018


The youngest member of the Council of State, Dr. Nii Kotei Dzani, is advocating a reduction in the age for people eyeing the presidency of Ghana.

According to the President of Groupe Ideal, it is about time Ghana follows the example of Canada, France, New Zealand, and allow people younger than age 40 to run for the highest office of the land as President.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Young Parliamentarians Forum at the Speaker’s Lounge, Parliament House, Dr Dzani challenged the young parliamentarians present to begin the debate as to whether 40 is the right age to run for Presidency in Ghana.

Dr Dzani argues that Ghana, the gateway to Africa, in the 21st Century, with all the technology and exposure, has still not been able to take a step which “our counterparts in Europe began in the 18th Century”.

The Chronicle shares the sentiments of the Council of State Member, and rightly so, because the world is moving at fast pace and the youth, certainly, must play key roles.

After all, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada at the age of 37 years of age. President Macron became President of France at age 39. The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern, was elected at 37 years of age in 2017.

To us, at The Chronicle, it is indeed possible for young people to take their place at the decision-making table of the presidency, but can young people under 40 years in Ghana just assume the presidency?

We believe that before citizens decide to give their mandate to an under 40 years person to rule the country, the youth must provide enough evidence to back the argument that leadership may not be so much about how old you are.

The Chronicle recalls that in recent times, there have been some young men and women under 40 years who were given the opportunity serve in government.

In the beginning, we hailed the decision to allow the youth be part of nation building agenda at the highest levels.

However, the actions and inactions of some these young people in government left many wondering if, indeed, it would be a wise decision to entrust young people with sensitive national positions.

Without sounding, pessimistic, The Chronicle would like to stress that if young people desire to occupy the highest office of the country, then they must begin to build an image befitting the presidency.

The Chronicle admits that about 65 per cent of the total population of Africa is below 35 years of age, with more than 35 per cent of the people between the ages of 15 and 35 years.

This makes Africa the most youthful continent. However, relatively few young people are leading some African countries, and the reason is not far-fetched – the youth on the continent have not demonstrated adequate abilities to lead.

From the foregoing, proponents of a younger president for the country may have to pause for a moment and rather drum home to the youth that if they really wish to dine with the elders, they must learn how to wash their hands very well.

The Chronicle would like to emphasise that in as much as young people assuming the presidency of their countries is gaining roots in some parts of the world, the Ghanaian youth can equally aspire for the highest office of the land.

But, first let us be sure that the youth have built themselves well, with particular focus on Emotional Intelligence (EI) among others.

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