The 2016 flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), President John Dramani Mahama, last Saturday launched the party’s manifesto for the this year’s electioneering, describing it as the best plan that can move the country forward.
The launch was disability friendly because the entire programme was simultaneously translated by a young lady on the podium into sign language.
President Mahama also announced that to make the manifesto accessible to the visually impaired, copies had been made available in a Braille form.
Earlier, some ministers of state had taken turns to give some highlights of the manifesto and also recount the achievements of the party in government.
They included the ministers of Gender and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur; Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Haruna Iddrisu; Transport, Fifi Kwetey; and Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah.
The teeming supporters defied the early morning heavy rain that ended around midday to participate in the launch.
Touching on some of the details of the manifesto, President Mahama stated that the NDC government, which he had led in the last four years, had been candid and transparent with the people of Ghana and applied “the most potent disinfectant in fighting corruption”.
He said unlike the Kufuor administration which stated that it was not ready to investigate corruption allegations against its government, the President said in his government, “we will investigate corruption wherever we find it”, adding that the government would continue to make corruption a high risk crime.
He said the NDC government’s enviable record in the battle against corruption was corroborated by the report of Transparency International’s corruption perception index which was the most credible corruption index.
President Mahama said it was based on its record that the NDC had gone to the Brong Ahafo Region to launch its manifesto.
He said the manifesto contained what was steeped in vision and pragmatism and addressed the aspirations of the people, while confronting the reality as a nation, born out of the collective experience as a nation, the history of the political tradition and the mistakes and successes chalked up over the years.
He said the next NDC government would implement economic transformation and livelihood empowerment programmes anchored on diversification and value addition that would create more employment opportunities.
He added that it would enhance incomes, grow the economy, ensure the socio-economic transformation of Ghana and see to it that the import bill was reduced as part of the industrialisation programme.
He said the next NDC administration would enhance the products of the private sector and create more job opportunities, especially through public/private partnership initiatives.
Giving details of the social protection programmes that would be implemented in future should the party’s mandate be renewed, President Mahama said the next NDC government would expand the social protection programmes to cover deprived areas such as Zongos and artisanal fishing communities. Poor households would be prioritised in the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, while children from such homes would enjoy free senior high school education.
He said the government would make another history, apart from being the first government in the country’s history to appoint a visually impaired person as minister of state.
He said the party’s wish was that Dr Henry Seidu Danaa would also win his seat and become the first visually impaired Member of Parliament (MP).
He urged Parliament to start making preparations to ensure that it made Braille facilities available to Dr Danaa, so that people of such handicap would be able to participate fully in the deliberations of the House, just as the current Cabinet had made facilities available for Dr Danaa to participate in its deliberations.
He said the next NDC government would make agriculture the backbone of the economic transformation by launching a green revolution that would double the output of staple agricultural products, especially grains and tubers, by 2021 to guarantee food security and make Ghana a net food exporter.
Mr Mahama said irrigation and mechanised farming would be expanded to guarantee all-year round farming, coupled with the establishment of farmers’ services centres that would provide extension services and inputs for farmers.
He encouraged Ghanaians to study the NDC manifesto and assess all the gains the government had made in its four-year rule from 2013 and vote for the party because that comparison would lead to an “inevitable conclusion that the NDC remains the most prepared, the most peaceful and the most organised political party today”.
He said the NDC remained the only party that could deliver on the aspirations of the people and maintained that he would continue to count on the support and hard work of NDC supporters and the people of Ghana to win a one-touch victory in the December polls.
President Mahama used the occasion to commend the NDC Manifesto Committee, headed by Mr Lee Ocran, for its brilliant work.
He praised his Vice, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, for his sharp insight into issues which had been useful to him in executing his mandate as President.
The President expressed his love and appreciation to his wife, Mrs Lordina Mahama, to whom he has been married for the past 24 years, and saluted the people of the Brong Ahafo Region, whom he described as his in-laws because his wife hails from the region.