Sep 18, 2012 at 10:55am
Importance Of Political Party Manifestos
COMMENTARY ON THE IMPORTANCE OF POLITICAL PARTY MANIFESTOS FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Anytime a nation prepares for general elections, a great deal of effort goes into campaigning.
An integral part of political campaigning is the use of party manifestos to outline the vision of a political party.
Democratic values are indeed entrenched in accountability.
A manifesto is therefore very useful and serves as an important benchmark for measuring the performance of a Government and ensuring that it becomes accountable to the electorate based on the promises outlined in the manifesto.
Recently, the New Patriotic Party, NPP, launched its party manifesto.
The National Democratic Congress, NDC, Convention People’s Party (CPP), Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the other political parties will follow in due course.
Once manifestos of political parties are out, campaigning for the general elections in the country moves into full gear.
Manifestos have long been important primary documents of political parties in established democracies all over the world as meaningful sources of information regarding a party’s position on a wide range of developmental issues.
It is however to mention that in an attempt to either capture or hold on to power manifestos can sometimes be embellished and have unrealistic promises.
Indeed one of the challenges that confront multiparty democracy is the contention between political party manifestos and national aspirations in setting long term national development agenda.
This is especially so when considering for instance, the strength of a party manifesto against national development agenda.
Much as a manifesto is an important document worthy of consideration in a democratic dispensation, it is prudent to state that when development plans are clothed in political colours in the form of political party manifestos, it becomes sometimes difficult for other governments to use them even when the issues discussed have overall national importance.
This is most probably due to the tendency for some politicians to regard certain development strategies as owned by a particular party in government and as such, their reluctance to embrace them.
When this becomes the norm, the nation is only saddled with a cycle of uncompleted projects as a result of tagging of projects with particular parties.
As political parties spell out their programmes for development as enshrined in their manifestos, it would be appropriate for national visions and aspirations to take centre stage when they have the opportunity to govern.
The current attempt by the National Development Planning Commission to put in place a non partisan strategic framework for a long term development plan should be embraced by all Ghanaians.
When such a framework, is translated into a long-term national development plan, it would serve as yardstick by which programmes and manifestos of political parties would be measured.
Indeed, if there is any period when such a strategic framework for development planning is priceless, it is now.
This is because, Ghana has become an oil-exporting state with an experience of a strong growth warranting the need for a fair, objective non partisan approach towards harnessing its potential.
For a sustained development process to become a reality, national visions other than political party manifestos must become prime components in development planning.
Political parties would do the nation a great service if they ensure that they relate their manifestos to such a strategic framework which carry the development vision of the entire nation.
This would go a long way to ensure an overall nationalistic approach to development planning in Ghana that would be sustained from generation to generation.
BY: DAVID OWUSU-AMOAH, NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING COMMISS