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Opinions of Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Columnist: Alhassan Musah

NDC scoring NPP's delivery of manifesto promise is good for our democracy

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Over the years many well-meaning Ghanaians have advocated for a national development plan that will guide all political parties in the country towards achieving our developmental goals.

The two main political parties (NPP & NDC) who have also run this country since the start of the fourth Republican constitution have always paid lips service to this noble call. They prefer to draft their own manifestos which they work with when Ghanaians give them the mandate.

The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) who has the mandate to develop such strategic plans by the nature of its composition has not won the favor of succeeding government anytime there is a change in government. In fact, every new government reconstitutes the commission with their own people which makes their strategic plan just an extension of the government in power manifesto.

As a realist when you advocate for something and the main actors appear not interested you have to adopt another strategy that will bring them on board. This is why I fully support the exercise of the largest opposition party in the country (NDC) did by scoring the ruling government on their manifesto promises. I believe that the exercise has highlighted the importance of manifestos and will begin a new paradigm shift in the way political parties draft their future manifestos.

I say this because I am convinced that if the NDC comes to power in the future, the NPP will do the same to them which will ensure that they both take the whole manifesto drafting and implementation process more seriously.

By the way, I have to acknowledge IMANI Ghana for starting this process.

I am really not interested in the scores the NDC gave the NPP government as I share in Franklin Cudjoe view that the NDC was very mean in their scoring of 14%. My interest is the impact this process will have on the future of our democracy. I am convinced that exercise like that will help move us closer towards an issue-based politics.

The question is how does this exercise benefit the ordinary Ghanaian? First of all, it gives us citizens the opportunity to influence the manifesto drafting process with suggestions on policies and programs that will benefit majority of us.

Once the politician knows that we take their manifestos more serious and we will hold them accountable for every promise they make, they will begin to be measured in their promises and will improve the quality of their manifestos. Moreover, CSOs and other Ghanaian will have the opportunity to contribute their ideas towards the drafting of these manifestos once we begin to take it more serious.

In the end, it will help us to improve our governance system and the quality of our democracy. I think we should encourage other political parties to take part in scoring incumbent government on their delivery of manifesto promises to draw more attention to it.

We must insist on policy-based politicking and hold governments accountable for their promises when we elect them. Our democracy is still young but steps like this will help us improve the quality of policy making and dialogue in the country.

Alhassan Musah

Lecturer (Accounting and Finance).