The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has launched the Ghana Manifesto Project to enhance the development of manifestos and policies by political parties in the country through the use of credible data and evidence.
Dubbed: “Promoting Responsive and Responsible Manifestos for Inclusive Development,” the Project also seeks to improve the usage of manifestoes to address critical national and long term development issues.
It is a compilation of issues and evidence in 10 key sectors spanning governance and public administration, health, social services, economy and infrastructure.
It also seeks to build trust, responsiveness and accountability in the manifesto development process to improve popular participation in its development.
Professor Emerita Takyiwaa Manuh, the Vice Chair of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), launched the Project, funded by the United Kingdom's Department for Foreign and International Development (DFID).
She said the Ghana Manifesto Project was a step in the right direction to engender debates on issues raised within organisations, the media, academia and in the political spheres.
Prof Henry Kwasi Prempeh, the Executive Director, CDD Ghana, said the general view among students and scholars of Ghanaian electoral politics was that earlier generation of political parties' manifestoes did not have much of an effect on voter behaviour or on election outcomes.
Once in power, political parties and their leaders did not generally govern or feel obligated to govern in line with the promises or commitments they had made in their manifestoes or during their campaigns and voters did not hold governments to their electioneering promises, he said.
“We, however, believe that there is some evidence that at least this is beginning to change.”
Madam Clara Osei-Boateng, Governance Advisor, DFID Ghana, said elections afforded individuals to make choices about how their lives were governed and empowered them to hold the government to account.
She said the choices made by individuals should be informed by the policy propositions of the contenders, which were enshrined in their manifestoes.
“Once elected, these manifestoes become the social contracts based on which citizens can demand accountability”.
“This is an important part of democracy and presents the poor the opportunity to influence policy decisions. Part of the definition of being poor is to have no power to shape your own life; no power to make sure government policy meets your needs and no power to hold your leaders to account for what they do.”
Mrs Clara Kasser-Tee, Member, CDD-Board and Private Legal Practitioner, said CDD-Ghana would continue to work with political parties, media, civil society and all other identifiable interest group to advance the conversation on the need for data-driven manifestoes and policies.
Those would be not only be responsive and inclusive but also respond to national and global development frameworks and aspirations, she noted.