Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Should The Voting Age In Ghana Be Lowered To 16?

The unfortunate incidents of pockets of violence, which marred the otherwise relatively peaceful just-ended limited voter registration exercise, organised by the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC), ought to worry every Ghanaian, who actually cares about the stability of our homeland Ghana.

In light of the tensions such incidents of violence generate, as a people, would it not be wise to remove what has become  a major bone of contention between the major political parties, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the largest of the opposition parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) - the alleged registration of minors and objection to same by party agents - by lowering the voting age to the age of consent for consensual sex in Ghana: the age 16?

Like many of my year group's peers, when I  completed my fifth form at Prempeh College, in 1970, at Kumasi, I had just turned 16 - and was quite clued on. I am pretty sure that I would have thought through which candidates to vote for, very carefully, if Ghanaians were then allowed to vote in national elections, at 16.

16-year olds are allowed to vote in some elections in Cuba, Brazil, Austria, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. If it has not brought any catastrophe to those societies, will our country not benefit from doing so too - and enable the EC to register new voters peacefully?

What political party's leaders would have to worry about the possible registration of minors by their opponents, and expend their energies scheming to counter that, across the nation - if the voting in Ghana is lowered to 16, I ask? None.

To ensure peaceful and trouble-free voter registration exercises, in future,  should we not consider lowering the voting age to 16, for the common good - as that will  remove a major source of friction between the political parties:  and considerably lessen the burden placed on EC officials, during voter registration periods, in our homeland Ghana? Food for thought.

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