22 Dec Ghana Election 2020 :The three most “powerful ” young politicians changing politics in Ghana
Written by Enoch Adjei,with support from Dateline Africa News staff ,London (United Kingdom)
The past several years have seen a marked increase in young people getting involved in politics and running for office around the world. The last Ghanaian election saw a number of young politicians taken center stage in the campaign for the various political parties. During the just ended elections in Ghana, studies were undertaken in 135 of the constituencies in Ghana, tracing the attitudes of a huge panel of voters during the campaign.
These studies were preoccupied with the significance of class and invariably found an association between social class and the party choice at the polls .They were also prescriptively concerned to say how voters behave to politicians who approach them on their doors, campaign stages, social media etc. to plead for their votes. The team conducted an extensive interviews with voters on the simple presumption that if you want to know why people vote as they do ask them.
While we admit our research were limited in enabling us to make a good sense of voting behavior because over 12 million voters who voted in the just ended elections in Ghana, we only interviewed 1500 voters spanning across 135 constituencies in Ghana .
Among the questions was which of the young politicians could have a crucial importance in shaping your vote and in accounting for changes in the patterns of voting behavior in Ghana .It is social survey series of enormous importance for anyone interested in exploring and explaining the voting behavior in Ghana and the impact of some politicians .
For statistical purposes, the United Nations General Assembly defines youth as between the ages of 15-24, without prejudice to other definitions by member states.
However, since in many countries people below the age of 40 who are active in politics are considered young, this topic area uses a more flexible definition of youth — people between the ages of 15 and 40.
Sammy Gyamfi is a Ghanaian Lawyer and a politician .He is the current National communication director of the National Democratic Congress .Sammy vibrancy and passion for his party to return to power resonated with a lot of voters .
He became the mouthpiece of the party ,organizing press conferences and addressing electorates on various political issues .Although his composure on various media platforms was tagged as arrogance ,it did little to affect his ability to organize fringe press conferences and talk about state affairs .
For the most part, he provided space for young people in the NDC to meaningfully participate in the campaign .In Ghana ,the middle class NPP voter has not received the same academic attention as the middle class voter in the NDC. In part, this is because the middle class has been loyal to the NPP, but it also reflects the fact that academics have been reluctant to turn the research spotlight on rural voters who are mostly loyal to NDC.
Sammy knew this, and communicated very well with these class of voters during the campaign. The two-class-two –party theory has fitted the rough essentials of the electoral situation in Ghana .In the just ended Ghana elections ,Sammy did a good job of making broad sense of electoral stability and continuity with respect to the general patterns of electoral support for the two main parties .
Sammy Awuku, NPP
Sammy Awuku is a Ghanaian politician who served as the Deputy Communications director ,National Youth organizer and is now the current organizer of the New Patriotic Party .The NPP is known as a party with a hierarchical top-down organization that continues to reflects its origins as an interior elite party .Party members are accorded a modest role because of the whole emphasis on leadership and hierarchy .Following the 2008 elections , a radical review of the party organization was set in hand with a view to producing more integrated party ; responding to the concerns being articulated by the members ,some of whom were unhappy about the lack of youthful politicians in the top hierarchy of the party .
Electoral disaster in 2008 ,forced the party to expand the number of delegates eligible to vote to choose the flagbearer and also to have a youthful face in the operations of the party .
Sammy Awuku as one of few young politicians introduced into the party, he has his work cut out, to appeal to Ghanaian youth .As voter turnout among young Ghanaians is way below the national average according to a survey conducted by University of Ghana, which in a polling of 300 –concluded that while 90% of people aged 30+ voted in the 2008 elections, less than half of those aged between 17 -29 cast their vote.
Sammy committed himself to doing things differently, he started speaking in languages that the youth will understand with supporting catchphrases.
Surprisingly, given his political pedigree in the party now, he was seen campaigning in all the 16 regions in Ghana from health walks to political rallies. Sammy stressed the importance of maintaining the current government so they could develop the right support networks for the youth. Sammy added young people to the party’s discussion panel giving them role in the management and administration of ,or decision-making about the campaign .
He realized that voter turnout tends to be significantly lower among the youth than the older population but interpreting this as an evidence of apathy ignores the structural and organizational obstacles Sammy created a feeling of connection as an effective tool for meaningful political engagement to destroy apathy among the youthful voters .
Kofi Ofosu Nkansah
Kofi Ofosu is the Managing Director of Accra Digital Centre and a politician .Under his leadership ,the center has seen transformation from unoccupied blocks to achieving 100% occupancy .The center has seen on boarding of over 40 tech start-ups and creation of over 2500 jobs for the youth .Kofi realizes that social media has changed politics ,he used social media to express himself without the filter of traditional media .Recently ,politicians communicate different than the way they used to communicate 10 years ago ,they speak through official speakers at campaign stages or television .They would be in print or official online newspapers .Today ,they are communicating through places like Twitter and Facebook .
Kofi is able to humanize himself through social media ,communicating his party policies and helped voters feel more connected to the party .Beyond ,his social media constituency ,he was seen on the ground campaigning for his party .Kofi used the intersection of social media and on the ground, campaigning to win the hearts of young voters .He realized that much more young voters are active in online politics .
From 2016 to 2020 ,our team survey concluded there was a 32% increase in the number of Ghanaians who use their smart phones to follow political campaigns and/or campaign coverage and that continues to grow