My current MA thesis I’m working on supervised by Dr. Kobby Mensah is sub-themed “The Elephant Vs. the Umbrella”.
All things being equal, it shall end with one of its findings – that opposition parties always adopt a more decentralized and convincing communication strategy to winning votes since they have the heaviest burden in every election.
In the area of campaign promises, they must lead as well else lose to incumbency and all its advantages. The logic is the ruling party may have run out of ideas; or the opposition may be seeing more clearly from the back seat.
If this premise is anything to go by, one expects the NDC manifesto (an opposition manifesto) to be voluminous and exhaustive full of ideas as compared to the NPP manifesto ( ruling party manifesto).
Evidently, the NPP Manifesto is about 216 pages and the NDC is 143 pages. But technically, the NPP manifesto is only 35 pages because it begins (technically from page 151). The rest of the 181 pages were projects and achievements the NADAA government had to account for.
The party chose to put in a manifesto despite its townhall meetings to account to the people – good and bad, if you ask me. In opposition, the NPP had a lot to promise Ghanaians but now it is fair to say whilst the NDC has a number of solutions to the problems confronting the nation currently, the NPP may have run out of ideas or may have exhausted their bullets.
The sense I get from the NDC manifesto is that there must be a total overhaul of our current system because the posture of the NDC shows it has problems and corresponding solutions to every sector. You can call this character AUDACIOUS.
But the NPP’s seems to suggest “all is under control, we’re on course”. Call it MODEST. Though the two present a parallel character of manifestos despite same sectors-content, it still becomes easy for citizens to judge which manifesto should get their votes because whether the system needs rigorous repairs or the change they voted for is okay, all lies with what the people feel in reality ( the twi-man will say wasitr3mu or shw3 wo living )
However on youth policies as a critical interest area, the following could be the verdict :
In terms of giving prominence to the youth in the manifesto, both parties managed to mention the word “youth or young” about 74 times. But technically, the NPP mentioned the “youth” word about 50 times because its promises started from page 151. The NDC on the other hand would have its 74 times (estimate ) intact because it had nothing to account for. Therefore it is right to say, the NDC gave much word frequency-attention to the Ghanaian youth. Remember it had all 143 pages and spaces to capture their youth intentions.
In my media interview weeks ago following the launch of the NPP manifesto, I argued the NPP manifesto failed to touch on specific youth demographics albeit good intentions to capture the youths. I identified the types of youths I’ve come to associate the definition of youth to as – Skilled, Unskilled, Disabled, Educated and Uneducated ( you can also add to the list).
To my best of analysis of the NPP manifesto, I concluded it targeted more of what I called “the middle elite youths” – it assumed every youth must have access to education, every youth should be skilled , hence tailored its youth policies along that line. I barely saw demography-specific policy on youths for instance who are physically challenged. Weeks on and after spending sometime on the NDC manifesto, youths who are physically challenged are legibly factored in; specific youth demographics are also mentioned like Zongo youths among others (Section 8.8, page 100). The prominence given to “persons with disability”, I counted twice in the NPP manifesto ( Part 6, page 191 and Part 4 page 162 in relation to Persons with Disability Act 2006). On the other hand, I found the use of “persons with disability” used about 4 times and a number of these were mentioned in relation to the youths ( page 79). This was an area I said lacked for instance in the NPP manifesto.
It gets more interesting on the page 73, Section 7.2.5 of the NDC Manifesto where policy intentions are made on Special Needs Education. The NPP intentions for special needs education were not conspicuous with some brief mentions on page 155 , bullet 6.
Still on the types of youths, I also found the NDC Nightlife Economy they seek to use to create more jobs and to enhance productivity as very interesting and novel ( page 29, section 6.9.3(c) ). It seems sleepless us ( youths) can cash in some money; and not continue with our wasteful lives. This policy needs more explanation though.
Also the NDC Manifesto has not just Youths in Cocoa Farming intervention programmes but also Women in Cocoa farming with even an award scheme to motivate young women to venture this lucrative area ( page 48). To my best of research, the NPP Manifesto didn’t zero in the youths in cocoa industry rather, it adopted a general policy-direction there.
It first policy statement in the youth development chapter category was the establishment of a ministry of youth development whilst the first policy statement of the NPP in this chapter under review was the reduction of cost of data. The Youth Development Ministry intention by the NDC captures my earlier fears of the NPP manifesto not having a broad-base vehicle to capture the various types of youths I identified. You find this on page 84 bullet c of the NDC. It stressed on “Various categories of the youth”
As for jobs, both parties have some audacious plans for the youth. Your maths ought to be good to calculate the number of jobs over the 4 year period by both parties.
On students, I found the NDC’s intentions to absorb 50% of the fees of the 2020/21 academic year of tertiary students very responsive of the possible challenges our brothers and sisters are facing ahead of next semester – page 74, section 7.2.6c). Page 154 of the NPP Manifesto was concerned about getting more entries into tertiary education through FSHS, FTVET ( similar to NDC) and other quality measures; the NDC adopts a safety net to keep them in school through this intervention. Weeks ago I had provided some directions on a petition to president NADAA to act proactively to ease the financial burden on working students and parents next academic. To my best of search, I’ve not seen any safety net in the NPP manifesto cast over the next academic year fees.
The list of benchmarks, arguments and analysis on which of the manifestos should the youths vote for, is very tall. To some, modesty is key in leadership – under-promise to over-deliver. But to others, being audacious of a messed up and a mashed up system is key to transformation. Let’s keep sharing in the debate ; but from my lens, the NDC manifesto is very youthful and audacious in representation ( text) ; character and intention ; it’s youth-specific and loaded, attempting to capture my operational definition of youths as an activist, as compared to the NPP’s. This is only a laser confirmation of the theory I explained in my premise of an opposition vs incumbent.
PS: The error margins of the maths I did in my analysis and the verifiability of its claims are subject to your ability to also peruse the manifestos under review. So as youth, I urge you to also take keen interest. It didn’t factor in sector-related youth polices and other ‘youthful sectors’ like sports, creative arts etc
By Kabu Nartey |3news.com|Ghana
The author is the GJA Student Journalist of the Year ; Political Youth Activist and a Kufuor Scholars Fellow. Views expressed in this article are entirely the writer’s and do not in any way reflect the position of 3news.com or any of its affiliates