Indeed, this year is an election year and the two major political parties have come out to voice out their promises to the good people of Ghana. It depends on Ghanaians to decide whether to cast their vote for either the New Patriotic Party (NPP) or the National Democratic Congress (NDC). STRANEK-Africa has pondered over the two major political parties’ manifestos to see who is truly for the people of Ghana.
The manifesto launch of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) took place on 22nd August 2020 at the University of Cape Coast and 7th September 2020 at the University of Professional Studies, Accra respectively, as part of canvassing votes going into the constitutionally mandated day of elections.
In comparing the two major political parties, the People’s Manifesto (NDC 2020 manifesto) seeks to reflect the needs and aspirations of Ghanaians of all walks of life. Undoubtedly, the issues of Ghanaians were taken into serious consideration. We could not agree that it is a manifesto of the people, for the people, and by the people.
On January 8, 2020, STRANEK-Africa called on political parties to prioritize issues affecting Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in their 2020 manifestos. In the Leadership of Service Manifesto (NPP 2020 manifesto), it is said that in their next government, the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee will have its scope, membership and mandate expanded so that they can continue to tackle issues of disability at the local level and encompass the implementation of the provisions in the Persons with Disability Act 2006 ( Act 715).
The NDC promised in their 2020 Manifesto that they will strengthen the legal framework to take care of the vulnerable and marginalised groups by passing the Social Protection Bill and Aged Persons Bill. They also promised to establish an Orphan and Vulnerable Child Support Scheme as a special vehicle including promoting the construction as well as upgrading shelters for vulnerable persons such as survivors of gender-based violence and trafficked persons.
Free tertiary education for Persons with Disabilities is among the many other promises. Even though we applaud the two political parties for prioritizing issues affecting Persons with Disabilities, the People’s Manifesto indicates enough commitment to issues of PWDs.
Another reason is, the Leadership of Service Manifesto does not have any pension package for farmers, drivers, fishermen, traders, market women and artisans. However, in the People’s Manifesto, the NDC has promised to establish a specially tailored pension scheme for the informal sector and incorporate a provision for unemployment benefits for workers such as farmers, drivers, fishermen, traders, market women and artisans. For the first time in the 4th Republic, pension scheme will not only be benefited by workers in the formal sector but the informal sector will also benefit which means that there is hope for farmers, drivers, fishermen, traders, market women and artisans when they are old and cannot work that much.
For tertiary education, the NPP government indicated that the Tertiary Education Policy of paying utility bills in tertiary institutions has been abolished. The People’s Manifesto utters that the next NDC government will repeal the Public Universities Act if enacted and allow public universities to exercise the autonomy the 1992 Constitution has clothed them with. The NDC further promised to absorb fifty per cent (50%) of fees of tertiary students for the 2020/2021 academic year as an incentive to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on students and parents.
They promise to establish free Wi-Fi zones in all public and private tertiary institutions including providing free laptops to tertiary students to facilitate participation in virtual classes. Conversion of all polytechnics into Technical Universities (TUs) will be completed and the Technical Universities will be repositioned to produce relevant manpower for national development as promised by the next NDC government.
The National Research Fund will be operationalized and the automatic employment of newly trained teachers will be restored, says the People’s Manifesto of the NDC. There is a lot to benefit from the next NDC government in terms of tertiary education as compared to the next NPP government and these benefits reflect what is actually on the ground.
The Leadership of Service manifesto does not have any special package for assembly members. The People’s Manifesto stated that if they are voted to power, assembly members for the first time in the history of Ghana will be paid. In addition, they will assign the provision of certain administrative services such as revenue, electricity, water to district assemblies and remunerate the assembly members accordingly.
Moreover, the decentralization of the birth and death registration at the local level will be improved by training and empowering assembly members to facilitate births and deaths registration. Since one of the integral members of local government are Assembly Members, this promise will go a long way to strengthen local governance.
In as much as the NPP told Ghanaians about their intentions for their next tenure of office if given the nod, it is evident per the details of the People’s Manifesto that the NDC really took their time to survey in order to know what exactly are the needs and wants of Ghanaians which guises like a buffet.
STRANEK-Africa congratulates the two major political parties for making known their intentions whether detailed or not and it is our hope that anyone who takes the mantle of government will make sure they lead Ghanaians to their promise land.
Let us continue to engage and see that there is audacity of hope because we are all involved in building our motherland Ghana.
Nii Tettey Tetteh
+233 559 042 914
Director of Policy and Political Affairs
+47 412 45 303