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Young Africans seduced more and more by the opposition: a message to pass or a lesson for the party in power?

15.01.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
In the contemporary Africa, much is being said about harnessing the youthful population that constitutes about 70% of the continent’s total population. Integrating youths into political affairs have always been a bond of contention in Africa. Pundits have argued that youth representation in political issues in their states have been very minimal either due to lack of political interest or because they are being sidelined by the central governments. Nonetheless, African youths have made enormous strides in the political spheres across Africa.

African youths have been fully involved in what can be dubbed ‘political revolution’ across the continent. This comes at a time when African leaders have identified the potentiality of youth becoming great leaders of tomorrow. Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, once said that it is high time leaders start forming a youth inclusive government to meet up with the many challenges related to youth marginalization.

African Youths cajoled by Opposition parties

When political analysts assert that opposition parties have succeeded in seducing African Youths, there is some veracity in the statement, looking at the recent political developments in Africa. The active participation of Youths in last elections across the continent is a clear illustration.  Many youths in countries like Zimbabwe, Cameroon, DR Congo, flooded the polls to cast their ballots in landmark elections. A nation like Cameroon had at least five young Presidential aspirants who stood against the ruling CPDM. Similarly, in the DRC the youths massively supported the opposition to give victory to Felix Tshisekedi. 

Youth discontentment against the ruling ANC party in South Africa, is the reason then youth league leader Julius Mulema cut off from the party ANC and has a huge following, mostly youths who are interested in taking over power in South Africa.

The West African Nation of Nigeria has also witnessed an active participation of youths in political affairs. The youths in Nigeria felt exempted and championed a campaign dubbed ‘’not too young to run’’, pressing hard on the serving government to relinquish power to young Nigerians.

The reawakening of African youth comes at a time of the birth of strong opposition parties across Africa. Analysts have however argued that opposition parties have cajoled young Africans into joining the opposition. Responding to this claim, a young Cameroonian and political analyst Fah Elvis says given the high level of unemployment, high level of illiteracy coupled with general hardship which affects the largest class of the population known as youths, the strives and success indication seen in recent elections championed by youths has motivated this class of people to move towards opposition parties where their voices can be heard more than before.

Qemal Affagnon, a Phd researcher at the university of Benin and head of the West Africa division of the NGO, Internet without Borders, noted that the organization of elections in Africa raises a lot of questions regarding the type of democracy that African leaders want for the continent.  This results in a lack of trust among young people and this is of course one of the reasons why   some of them are seduced by opposition parties. ‘’Even though the situation varies from one county to another, levels of trust in opposition parties are at the highest levels due to the fact that many young Africans think that current politics have reached a low point,’’ he adds. For these young citizens, political parties in power across the continent have failed in their mission to bring opportunities to them and to build nations characterized by justice and progress after many years of ‘’independence’’.

With the growing discontentment amongst the youths as against the ruling party, their only option is to move more and closer to the opposition party that has the youths in their agenda.  Ruling parties have in the meantime bemoaned the fact that opposition leaders are luring vibrant youths into violent activities and vandalism for their political gains.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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