A governance watcher is advocating strongly for the reduction in the age at which a person can aspire to be President of Ghana.

Kofi Bentil says the country currently has some of the best breed of students who are well exposed and knowledgeable enough to become president if only they are able to convince electorates.

The country’s constitution currently pegs the age at which a person can become president at 40 but there are intents by some stakeholders to get the age barrier reduced to 35.

The joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Youth and Sports is considering petitioning the Constitution Review Committee to amend article 62 (b) of the 1992 Constitution to have the age reduced from 40 to 35.

That will be in conformity with the African Youth Charter that has recently been ratified by Parliament.

The Chairman of the Committee on Youth and Sports, Steven Ackah said the members of the committee believe the youth may be marginalized if the current age limit is not done away with.

“The youth is between 15-35 that means anybody who hits 35 can now say he is within the adult range and can take up any senior position and for that matter the person also qualifies to vie for a presidential position,” he said.

He added the committee will meet to consider the possibility of petitioning the review committee on the matter.

But even before that petition is forwarded, political party representatives are divided over the age barrier.

The Youth Organiser of the New Patriotic Party Anthony Karbo believes it is time the age is reduced to allow for the youth to aspire to the presidency.

According to him, young people these days are heading multinational corporations and can replicate same in the highest political position.

Kosi Dede of the CPP also believes the reduction in the age is worth considering given that the youth in recent times complete education at an early age and are able to acquire considerable working experience.

But Ludwik Hlordze, Youth Organizer of the ruling NDC thinks otherwise. He said at the age of 35, the Ghanaian youth may not have acquired the necessary experience and exposure needed to become the president.

Rather, the youth must aspire to lower political positions as District Chief Executives, Assembly members, ministerial and deputy ministerial positions in order to garner enough experience for Ghana’s topmost executive job.

Risk

But a governance analyst and watcher, Kofi Bentil, in an interview with Joy News’ Araba Koomson said the country must not be flippant in considering the age reduction.

Whilst agreeing with the framers of the constitution that a person should have sufficient exposure, experience and wisdom, a reason why they pegged the age at 40, he is unsure if it is only at 40 that a person could be able to exude those traits.

“The question is whether 40 is the appropriate age to attain all these things. Arguments can be made for or against that proposition that you can have a 40-year-old who does not have any of those and in today’s world you can have a 30-year-old who has held a regular job, has run businesses and is more educated and exposed possibly than his father.”

He said the country will not be running a risk in appointing a 35 year old president.

“I happen to teach undergraduates and sometimes post-graduate students and I can tell you we have currently some of the best youth that we have ever had in this country. Even at a tender age they are very well exposed, educated and quite thoughtful."

He said for an electoral system that is rigorous, it will be difficult for a 35-year-old who does not inspire confidence to be elected as president.

“I don’t think that any 35-year-old can just rise up and assume the reigns of government if that person does not have very special skills which makes the electorate want to use him,” he said.

Play the attached audio for excerpts of the interviews.


Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana