Feature writer Marian Ansah examines the manifestos of Ghana's two main political parties NPP and NDC.
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The season for electoral campaigns is here with us. Just like it has been the tradition around the time for every general election, the two major political parties – New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) have launched their manifestos.
The competitive political environment created by the NDC and NPP has been responsible for the excitement manifestos have generated since their introduction in the 1950s. A manifesto is essentially a published declaration of the intentions or motives, of an individual, group, political party or government.
From the onset, it appears the manifestos of these two major political competitors have the interest of Ghanaians at heart. However, a review of these manifestos shows otherwise – that they are simply tailored to either retain power for the governing NPP or acquire power for the NDC. These intentions are usually not so obvious because the political contest has been fashioned to appear as if they are people-driven.
A review of some promises in both manifestos exposes a lack of thought, analysis and creativity. Case in point is the silence on how to tackle teenage pregnancy in the manifestos of both parties. Teenage pregnancy remains a major challenge, particularly in the Central Region thus it would have been prudent for both parties to proffer viable policies that would root this problem out. Then there is the NDC's promise of introducing 7 –day paternity leave which is a good step but highly problematic, given that seven days are minimal for men to be actively involved in child care. Also, the NPP's intentions of building an airport in Cape Coast is needless. There are no existing conditions in the Central Region that would serve the basis for constructing an airport. Cape Coast is not a business hub like Abuja or other cities that require an airport. This promise makes no economic sense.
Again, the NDC's promise to introduce okada only exposes Mahama's lack of consideration of Ghana's transportation challenges. Legalization of okada is just a populist idea which will only result in a spike in road accidents – the former President of all people should know this. Okada will never be a safe mode of transportation. There were 4, 643 motor or cycle (bicycles, handcarts, tricycles and motorcycles) crashes which resulted in 723 deaths and 3,474 injuries in 2019, according to the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC). Statistics also show that commuters using two wheels are 63 times more likely to be killed or injured than car drivers. The NDC should have outlined a comprehensive transportation plan for Ghana than resorting to this populist idea.
Settling political scores
The two parties are just obsessed with shaming t heir opponents for recycling promises since the launch of their manifestoes rather than training their full energies on programmes and policies that would eventually improve the living standards of Ghanaians. There has neither been an explanation for the omission nor non-implementation of promises in the current and previous manifestos. Both parties have just been engaged in shallow, hollow and rhetoric politics with the hopes of scoring cheap points ahead of the polls.
Getting away with the mess
The NDC and NPP aren't guilty about their lack of innovation in formulating policies and programmes in their manifestos. They are not remorseful that they usually have to copy and paste ideas from either their opponents or past manifestos. They are not apologetic that their manifestos reflect their lack of responsibility in actively pursuing the interest of Ghanaians but they can get away with this because this is Ghana, where the culture of making unrealistic promises and getting away with negligence has become the order of the day. This is Ghana where those in power get to deceive the electorates to win their hearts at the polls. This is Ghana where politicians are seen as corrupt, steal from the state coffers and live large without being held accountable. It is not even surprising that the NDC and NPP will make majority of Ghanaians believe their manifestos are designed to improve living standards but the truth is citizens will keep struggling because our politicians appear to be running a scam on their followers and their shadiness reflects in everything they do, including manifestos.
Ghanaians will continue to struggle until they become politically conscious. So long as the people continue to swim in the miasma of political slogans and mass hysteria, Ghana will continue to be treated to lip service from the political class. We will begin to make progress when we deliberately decide to fix our politics. Ghanaians must therefore wake up to the realization that one way to fix our economy is to fix our politics. May the day break!
PS: Although a few other third parties have launched their manifestos, this article focused on the two major political parties.
The writer, Marian Ansah, works with Citi TV/Citi FM and citinewsroom.com