The WYDD was established in order to emphasize youth contribution in building and preserving democracies. Each year, it is celebrated globally and participants and supporters of the WYMD cause are given the opportunity to create live or online events, and have their events featured with the international community. The aim of the World Youth Democracy Day is to raise awareness and inspire active youth participation in democratization and promoting youth involvement and participation in politics and policy-making processes.
In commemoration of the World Youth Day for Democracy, (October 18th) NewSETA (a member of the World Youth Movement for Democracy – WYMD network) joined other young people across the globe to celebrate by carrying out a research on the theme question, “How are you Political?” and in addition to seek from young people some possible recommendations, which can enhance youth participation in political Processes
The NewSETA team carried out a survey from the 10th to 17th of October 2019, sampling youth opinions from the 10 regions of Cameroon. Data was gotten mainly through a “voxpop” in-person interviews and social media responses. In addition, the NewSETA team had a classroom discussion on youth political participation with students from the Centre for Information Technology and Consultancy (CITEC), a private higher institute of learning in Yaounde.
Sharing with and listening to over 40 young Cameroonians, online contributions through whatsapp groups, we were able to highlight the different opinions as summarized in the Chart below
In Figure 1 above, 31% of responses from youths interviewed shows that they perceive Freedom of Expression as the way in which they are political. The responses indicated that the interviewed youths feel they will be more political if they are free to express their opinions and are also free after expressing their opinion. 27% of youths interviewed indicated they are not political. 19% of youths interviewed indicated that political inclusion is the way they are political. Political inclusion as per the responses significantly depicts the ability of youths to hold political leadership positions, involvement in decision making processes and holding elected leaders accountable. 19% of youths indicated that participation in elections is the way in which they are political. Participation in elections as indicated by responses depicts freely choosing leaders through voting and also ensuring that the voted leader choices are respected. 4% of respondents indicated that being able to enhance social justice is the way they are political. Social justice from the responses predominantly implied the ability to enhance equity in access to social amenities/development in society.
Recommendations for meaningful youth participation in the political process in Cameroon.
The following are reccommedations gotten from interviewed youths in response to the question “what are your recommendations for more youth participation in the political process in Cameroon?”
- More opportunities should be granted to youths in politics. The older leaders should give room to younger people to lead. Also, policies should encourage youths to establish political parties and be candidates for elections.
- Sensitization /Capacity building of youths on political involvement. Modules on political engagement should be included in the educational curriculum from basic education till higher education. A day should be set aside as a “National day of youths in Politics”, where youths can be sensitized on political involvement and mobilized to express youth perspectives on politics.
- Enforcement of Freedom of Speech. This freedom of speech should not only remain as a law “on paper” but should be practiced.
- Sensitization of youths on electoral processes. Youths should be sensitized on registering and participating in elections
- Youths should be mobilized and more engaged in holding political leaders accountable.