Policy think tank, Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), has urged political parties to publish their manifestos as soon as possible.
They believe publication of the manifestos will encourage issue-based campaigns and reduce the growing tension that is beginning to characterise the electioneering as the November polls approach.
According to a report filed by Class News’ Fred Smith, the parties are reluctant in releasing their manifestos for fear their ideas will be stolen by other parties
According to him, the various political parties are appealing to the electorate for their votes. The governing NDC has been the biggest campaigner with messages in its Green Book. Some wings of the party, such as the ‘#I Choose JM’, ‘Zongo Youth for Mahama’, ‘Mahama Ladies’, among others, have embarked on outdoor programmes to solicit votes.
The party has even set victory margins for the elections. The NDC is hoping to win more than 57 per cent of over 14 million votes at the polls in November. The NPP’s flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and other party officials are also touring parts of the country to campaign for votes.
Some slogans such as ‘Nana Beba’ among others, have been coined to grab attention of voters. The CPP, PPP, and other parties are also firmly on the ground seeking votes.
However, none of these parties has presented their programme to the electorate. Class News understands that even though the NDC and the NPP have been working on their manifestos, they have delayed releasing them for fear of their opponents plagiarising their ideas.
For weeks, Class News has tried without success to get anyone from the NDC or the NPP to explain why their manifestos have delayed.
While that continues, the electorate are deprived of the opportunity to properly scrutinise the candidates and their parties to make informed decisions when they go to the polls in November.
Meanwhile, CPP flagbearer, Ivor Greenstreet, has told Class News his party’s manifesto will focus on programmes that are responsive to the needs of Ghanaians.
He said: “We are working on our manifesto at the moment. As we have indicated before, it is going to be an interactive, people’s manifesto.
“We are not going to hide ourselves in some room and turn out what the CPP believes is prescription for Ghanaians. So, it is that that is going to feed in some key information into our manifesto, which is hopefully, going to make it a manifesto that is easily understood, which is not too complex, but relevant to Ghanaians .
“There is this phrase that people like to use all the time here, i.e. good governance. But in the CPP, we believe good governance is almost as though it is one of those prescriptions of people, who claim to be helping. Your donors or your creditors used to say that you are doing well, but really that means you are just doing things, which suit them or suit their corporations. But what we believe in is a responsive government – that means we respond to the developmental needs of the people and, so, that is going to be the theme that is going to run through the manifesto. You know Ghana is going green, but this is not the Green Book agenda.”
With eight months for Ghanaians to go to the polls to elect a president, the CDD is hoping for an issues-based election campaign in the run up to the polls.
Head of Research and Programmes at the CDD, Paul Abrampah Mensah, speaking to Class News, said parties should tone down on attacking each other.
He advised: “Apart from even informing the electorate as to the competing issues, I think they should also lead discussions in the system and tone down some of the acrimonies and the attacks among political parties.
“So, have issue-based discussions in the system. I will not be surprised at all if the political parties have finished their manifestos. Because, for any serious political party – we’re in election year – by now, they know the issues in the system, by now they know what is going to be the basis of its campaign.
“…We all know the messages the two biggest political parties are carrying around, and even Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom has also started hinting bits and pieces of what he will do, and, so, we can pick and see, even though there is no official document for us to quote [from]. So, yes, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they have it [manifesto]”.
“As for who releases it first, it’s been a political strategy over the years and I don’t think it changes anything,” he added.