Informed by the growing recognition of the significance of manifestos and its effects in shaping the development agenda in Ghana, the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) is seeking to leverage its strength as a research-led organization to support the manifesto development and agenda setting of political parties through the use of research data and evidence.
Funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the “Promoting Responsive and Responsible Manifestos for Inclusive Development” project seeks to among other things, strengthen the capacity of political parties in generating responsible, inclusive and sustainable manifesto policies and programs; enhance the use of data and evidence in drafting political party manifestos; open up the process to the opinion and views of citizens, key experts and the media; improve the effectiveness of manifestos of political parties in addressing critical national long-term development and governance issues; and build trust, responsiveness and accountability in the process.
Announcing the launch of the project, Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, said although the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the country’s electoral calendar and dominated public conversations, the developmental challenges the health crisis has exposed should encourage citizens to actively engage with the political class and demand better and targeted developmental policies from political parties vying to govern the country.
“As an organisation committed to the promotion and deepening of the country’s democracy, good governance and inclusive development, CDD-Ghana’s role in this project is to serve largely as a transmission belt,” he said. “We are not prescribing anything to our political parties, we are merely providing a stage and opportunity for citizens to engage and let the main issues that they believe are critical to the development of this country come to the fore for the political parties to craft their own prescriptions to these problems, issues and concerns.”
According to Prof. Prempeh, political party manifestos are a social contract in which both sides – political parties and the voter – must have a way of talking to each other, not just after the contract is done, but equally important, before it is done. Thus, he encouraged citizens to get involved to ensure that manifestos of political parties contain issues that are very pertinent and reflect the real developmental needs of the citizens.
A number of activities will be rolled out under this project, including data and evidence gathering from sources independent of the political parties, and the commissioning of papers to inform policy options towards socio-economic transformation. In the coming weeks the Center will also have several public engagements with stakeholders, political parties and the media with the purpose of stimulating public discussion on key governance and developmental issues.
In addition, CDD-Ghana will host an online stakeholder meeting to present a research paper on “Public Safety and Security in Ghana” on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.