THE FORMULATION AND RELEVANCE OF POLITICAL PARTIES’ MANIFESTOS IN GHANA: A CASE STUDY OF NPP AND NDC
Manifestos are documents that outline the policies and programs a political party intends to pursue if elected into office. They can be used to depict proposals that a party is advocating for or portrays a party’s stand on a particular issue. As postulated by Bara (2005:585) “manifestos consist of statements connoting intentions, emphases, promises, pledges, policies or goals to be activated should that party be elected into office”. They provide metrics by which citizens can hold their governments accountable and serve as a social contract between the political parties and the electorate (Ray, 2007). According to Harmel (2018), the ultimate purpose of a manifesto is to appeal to voters and form the basis upon which parties implement their electoral promises when elected into power.
Since the inception of Ghana’s Fourth Republic, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which are two major parties have produced more than six manifestos for the eight presidential elections. With barely three months to the December 2020 presidential election, the major contenders have all launched their manifestos in their bid to woo voters. However, the processes leading to drafting manifesto have not been properly scrutinized by the public before elections. They are usually perceived to be the creation of the small elite caucus within the parties instead of reflecting the general views of the rank and file of the parties (Ayee, 2016). Indeed, until recently most key party officials did not even know the content of their own manifesto. Aside this, politicos have not unanimously agreed on the relevance of manifesto to the Ghanaian electorate. In line with these, this paper seeks to analyse the manifesto formulation of the two major parties (NDC and NPP), and its relevance to the electorate.
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