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ENHANCING YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN ELECTORAL PROCESSES IN AFRICA (PART 1)

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Editor's Note: This was a keynote address presented by Professor Attahiru M. Jega (OFR) at the 4th Annual Continental Forum of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) organized by the Political Affairs Department, African Union, held at the Park Inn, Radisson, Kigali, Rwanda, on the 9th-10th November 2017.


Introduction Participation in the political and electoral processes is a democratic right of all citizens guaranteed and protected by international conventions and declarations, as well as domestic laws. Regrettably, this right is often denied to constituencies most deserving by vested interests and dominant groups. The youth are the most significant and deserving of meaningful and purposeful participation in their country’s affairs, yet they are the most marginalized or excluded citizens from political and electoral participation especially on the African continent. While they are a demographic majority, paradoxically they are a political minority. Thus, their energy, vibrancy, enthusi…