Stakeholders deliberate on how political manifestos influence elections



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A not-profit organization, Penplusbytes has launched the Metogu II Report, dubbed” Do Manifestos Matter? An assessment of the winning manifestos of NDC (2012) and NPP (2016) on corruption.

The report was conducted with support from the UK-AID funded Strengthening Action Against Corruption (STAAC) Programme, in which ordinary citizens were offered the opportunity to speak out about how they perceive the issue of corruption and how government is dealing with it as well as assess the specific sector promises proposed by the current government to fight this menace.

The report was launched at a National Forum on Political Parties, which brought together panelists including Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director of CDD, Dr George Grandy, a Research Concultant at Penplusbytes and Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director at IDEG to delve deep into how political parties formulate their manifestos, the role the manifestos play in election campaigns, what informs the implementation of manifesto promises and the challenges of merging manifesto promises with the long-term national development plans.

Manifestos

Election manifestos perform an important role in representative democracy since they do not only offer a policy package for electorates to make up their minds on election day but also offer a checklist to monitor the progress of delivery of these promises once the party in question wins political power.

In the lead up to elections 2020 in Ghana, delivery of infrastructure promises by the two dominant parties (NPP and NBC) and corruption, was dominating the political discourse.

Indeed, the Sustainable Development Goal 16 specifically focuses on the issue of corruption and highlights the need to deal with it worldwide.

Holding duty bearers to account for their manifesto promises is important because such promises influence voter behavior, serve as the yardstick to measure the performance of political Parties and ultimately the development of the nation.

It is against this background that Penplusbytes organized the research to keep up the pressure on government to ensure that they are not only promising to crack down on graft but that they are delivering on that promise.

Research

Speaking at the forum, the Executive Director of Penplusbytes, Ms Juliet A. Amoah noted that the NDC had used the word “transparent” 14 times in their manifesto and the NPP had used it 9 times.

The NDC, she said had made 15 distinctive promises and NPP had made a total of 22 distinct promises about curbing corruption, questioning if these figures were reflective of the actions of each of the two political parties?

Ms Amoah also quizzed if the manifestos matter? Did what they said and how they said it in these written documents play out in the real world when they won the political power to deliver and lead the nation?

She said the research indicated that the new hyper aware Ghanaian is keen to see that what was promised in the manifesto must be measurable with clear policy instruments.

Meanwhile, she said they found that perceptions of corruption can play a crucial role in the electoral fortunes of any individual politician or political party.

For his part, the Deputy Director at Penplusbytes, Jeremiah Sam also reiterated that political parties in opposition do present good plans to tackle corruption in their Manifesto but when they come into power, they are unable to tackle the issue of corruption.

He urged the public to read and learn into details the Manifestos of political parties before voting for them and also, hold them accountable for it when they come into power.

He also advised politicians to make the fight against corruption their priority just as the other sectors.

Ghana| Atinkaonline.com| Porcia Oforiwaa Ofori