Manifesto, which is a document detailing the policies and intentions of political parties or similar entities should they win the mandate of the people to govern, has been used by parties during election years.
In many cases, political parties in Ghana have not lived up to expectations generally as far as their manifestos are concerned. Research has shown that, leaders and politicians sometimes fail to deliver even 50% of the contents in these documents. The inability of the electorate to put their leaders to strict check on effective manifesto delivery is partly due to the technicalities and the language involved as many people are unable to read to understand as well as the difficulty in accessing them.
From 1992, the two main political parties in the country, thus the New Patriotic Party(NPP) and the National Democratic Congress(NDC) have accused each other of not fulfilling manifesto promises. In some cases, parties blame their counterparts for allegedly stealing their ideas and policies.
But the extent and the rate of promise delivery over the period can be noticed based on how the two parties have developed the country when it was placed under their care.
Going into the 2020 Ghanaian elections, we will be looking at the feasibility of manifesto promises, juxtaposing them against their previous manifestos and the rate of accomplishment.
The NPP is the first to launch its manifesto for the 2020 general elections. We will take some of the excerpts of their promises at a glance to consider its efficacy and credibility.
Prior to the 2016 elections, the NPP made a number of promises in their manifesto. These included revamping the education sector with innovations, boosting the agricultural sector through planting for food and jobs, establishing one factory in each district to boost local economy, job creation and infrastructural development, $1million to every constituency every year among others.
Per retrospective analysis, their promises of free senior high school education, planting to increase food production and create jobs, one district one factory, $1million per constituency etc, have all been done, while other projects are at different stages of completion.
On the economy for instance, the NPP government has reduced inflation rate from 15.4% in 2016, to 7.9% in 2019, the lowest since 1992.
The Bank of Ghana has reduced policy rate from 24% in 2016 to 16% in 2019. This has subsequently reduced interest rates at the various commercial banks.
The mobile money interoperability system executed by the government, has helped to move millions of people without bank account to now have bank accounts.
There has been a bold step to clean up the the banking and the financial sector to get rid of non performing ones and those that turned into pondzie schemes.
From their delivery so far, about 80% of the promises in the NPP manifesto has been accomplished. This percentage mark in any pursuit, constitutes an excellent grade.
Although Ghanaians would wish everything promised by the NPP be delivered, but as it stands out now, the level of their achievement suggests that, they have the capacity and the credibility to consolidate them with new ones.
President Akufo-Addo has indicated that, their 2020 manifesto is a consolidation of the previous one and it is going to further be a gateway to national development since it has the potential to change the lives of Ghanaians in many ways.
Many doubted how some of their 2016 promises like free SHS, $1million per constituency, 1 district 1 factory could materialise because, they believed industrialisation was at its minimum point.
Going into the 2020 elections, the NPP launching its manifesto in Cape Coast, made monumental promises again.
On youth development and housing scheme for instance, the party has promised to establish National Rental Assistance Scheme that will support the youth especially those who have graduated from schools and working with the formal sector but do not have the means to rent accommodation.
Low income housing schemes will also be set up to help people who may want to get their house but earn low incomes.
On education, the gains made in the sector so far, especially free SHS will be consolidated. They have promised to offer free WiFi and internet for all senior high schools and tertiary institutions across the country.
Since there has always been difficulties in getting guarantors for students who wish to access the Student Loan Trust, the party in its newly launched manifesto has promised to make the loan scheme guarantor free when it gets a second term under President Akufo-Addo.
On infrastructure development, the NPP has proposed to build an airport at Cape Coast in the Central Region. This will certainly facilitate the tourism potentials and other businesses at Cape Coast in particular and the region in general. Harbour will also be established in the region.
In our next write up, we will take the manifesto programme by programme, policy by policy and look at their implications for the over all economy.
As and when the other political parties bring out their manifestos, we will analyse their feasibility and compare for the judgement of the Ghanaian public.
By Prince Adjei (GuyGee)
The writer with an MA. (Public Administration) is the Records Information Management Project Coordinator of a Private company in United States of America. He opens the line of communication between clients, customers, and businesses to get projects done. With over 8 years in both public and private sectors, he has experience in management consultation, team building, professional development, strategic implementation, and company collaboration. He has managed projects in Records, Information and Management, where he was a finalist for the PMI® Project of the Year. He holds an MPA from Kean University, Union, New Jersey and a current PMP® certification.