Dear Mr. President,
Congratulations on your inauguration as the 5th president of the 4th Ghanaian Republic. I have been reading about your first appointments online with keen interest, particularly in the number of females and youth to be selected to serve in your government. So far, I have not seen any position on youth, and that made me happy. I need you to read my divorce letter first before any such appointment.
Mr. President, many youth in Ghana and I want a youth ministry unsaddled with responsibilities for non-youth issues. I am a firm believer in the knowledge that the mismatched marriage between youth and sports has not worked. I consider the change of government a beautiful opportunity to bring about a divorce between the two. In fact, let’s forget a divorce. I call on you, this time as a senior lawyer, to help annul this marriage. The following are the extenuating grounds:
- Youth development has become a global priority for governments all over the world. Heavy investments are being made into education and skills development. However much I understand the original motive for merging youth and sports because of what was perceived to be the strong interconnection between the activities of both, the ministry has not been able to demonstrate any credible ability to harness this synergy. Issues of sports have taken precedence over those of youth, and have almost always resulted in scandals whose investigations took eons to unravel, if at all. In the midst of this often scandalous union, key issues of youth that have need addressing have been relegated to the background.
- I have had to ponder over the accomplishments of the Ghana Youth and Sports Ministry, especially in recent times beginning from 2006. I thought hard but could not lay my hands on anything substantial that the youth have benefitted from that union; only scandals and full, public glare corruption. The past 8 years have seen seven different ministers attempt to man this all-important ministry. While huge sums of money were pushed into sports, speeches to youth were full of the usual empty promises and plans whose light in the proverbial annoying pipeline was synonymous with dumsor’s end. Very little was ever head from the ‘Youth” half of the ministry, and news reporters, under no illusion of the uselessness of the youth component, simply referred to it as the ‘sports ministry’.
- Issues concerning the youth are equally important, if not more. The massive wind of youth unemployment (one of many) blowing across the country is strong enough to warrant a separate, more focused Ministry of Youth unencumbered with a Sports mistress or, even worse, the Employment sidekick who is concerned more about wages for adult workers than she is about employing youth. After secondary school, some of us ventured into teaching and nursing because we foresaw the struggles to secure a job after school. For those professions, there was a guarantee for ‘already-made jobs’ as we called it. Today, even the nurses and teachers cannot say the same. To be heard and listened to, we the youth need a ministry that has, at its core and only mandate, to oversee youth development and leadership.
- The ministry was touted as one of the least inspirational public institutions out of 51 at IMANI Ghana’s 2016 Inspirational Public Sector Leadership Awards (IPSLA). According to the survey by the policy think tank, poor performance in the areas of accessibility, responsiveness, transparency, and public engagements were reasons for the low ranking (Fiifi Abdul Malik, The Ghana Guardian). And I asked myself how these key areas for youth development could be the reasons for poor performance by a youth ministry. The youthful population of Ghana offers a rare opportunity for the yielding of great advantages if only appropriate investments could be made in first designating a separate ministry to champion this course. This would lead to “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth,” as the African Union puts it in its theme for 2017.
Mr. President, I hope to see your government pay key attention to job creation, and policy reforms in restructuring the educational system to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Further, I expect strong institutions that protect the rights of women and youth while creating the enabling environment for them to thrive. I believe your presidency can indeed bring about the change Ghanaians desire and, perhaps, much more than they desire. But, I need you to be my excellent divorce lawyer first.
Facebook: Yayra Hya
Twitter handle: @Yayrahya