15 July 2016

Policy think tank urges political parties to release manifestos

all partiesA policy think tank, Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK) says delays by political parties to release their manifestos ahead of elections later this year will stifle the country’s democratic process.

STRANEK says the delay does not give electorates ample time to peruse the agenda which the various political parties have for the country in order to facilitate their decision-making.

“It is approximately 117 days to elections and we think it is best for political parties to launch their manifestos on time for the study and scrutiny by the electorates,” release signed by STRANEK executives, Nii Tettey Tetteh and Charles Kwadade said.

Nii Tetteh speaking to the statement on JOYNEWS current affairs programme, Pulse Thursday said manifestos are pivotal in helping Ghanaians make up their minds whom to vote for.

“Apart fromt he politicians talking about what he/she will offer, the book serves as a document,which Ghanaians use as a guide in decision making of voting for a political party or not. Politicians most say what they will do but the manifestos contains the details,” Nii Tetteh said.

He said despite the fact that some members of the populace can’t read, the half who are literate can still peruse the details of what the parties are saying with lots of time on their hands to make informed choices at the polls.

According to him, the literate members of the population will be better to advise their friends, family and other relations who don’t understand the issues once they get to peruse the parties policies and plans.

The policy and governance think tank says it has observed a trend by political parties release their manifestos a few months before elections.

Citing 2008 and 2012 as an example, STRANEK has admonished political parties to desist from the practice.

“In 2008, none of the political parties had issued their manifestos for study and scrutiny by the electorates in the run-up to the elections – the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), the Peoples National Convention (PNC) and the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) notable,” STRANEK states.

The NDC and NPP claim their manifestos are ready but STRANEK says the two main political parties must move from aiming to score political points to working in the interest of voters.

Nii Tetteh said even though the manifestos delayed in coming in the 2012 elections, key for the voters was the issue of Free senior high school (SHS) education and Free progressive SHS education by the NPP and NDC respectively.

“The incumbent have a manifesto in which they have stated progressively free, at least we can see [on the ground] not fully, per their manifesto that so far as free SHS is concerned, they are having some level of accomplishment,” he added.

He said in this regard, the governing NDC will be judged based on what they said they would do in 2012 and what they have been able to do against the backdrop of making a new promise in a policy document.

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