Madam Clara Osei-Boateng, Governance Advisor, DFID, Ghana, has lauded the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD Ghana) for its contributions towards deepening Ghana’s democratic credentials.
Madam Osei-Boateng gave the commendation in Accra at the Launch of CDD Ghana’s Publication on Complications of Issues and Evidence on Key Sectors in Ghana under the Manifesto for Inclusive Development Project.
The project dubbed “The Manifesto Project: Promoting Responsive and Responsible Manifesto for Inclusive Development”, aims at shaping political parties’ manifestoes at the drafting stage of the manifesto value chain.
“DFID is happy to be associated with the manifesto project, which has provided analyses of issues in our key sectors to influence the manifestoes of the political parties for the presidential and parliamentary election in December,” she stated.
“These evidences and recommendations to follow will seek to mitigate the risk of political parties overpromising and under-delivering, ensure manifestoes are balanced rather than populist and hold the political parties to account when elected.”
She said the importance of political parties’ manifestoes make it imperative that the key stakeholders do not sit aloof and watch political parties do it by themselves.
She said civil society organizations (CSOs) with their local knowledge and expertise in policy development were well placed to bring to the fore the needs of Ghanaians, in particular, marginalized communities/groups to further political parties/governments commitment to leave no one behind in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She called on countries to prioritize achievement of the SDGs in recent times as it had become more important than ever as COVID-19 was exposing vulnerabilities in out societies. “Again, it is also becoming evident that we are likely to emerge from this crisis with worsened poverty and inequalities; therefore, the need for Ghana to get its priorities right as it prepares to usher to a new government in January 2021.”
She said in no doubt, the priorities of the new government to be formed in January 2021 would first and foremost be about positioning the country to recover from the impacts of COVID-19; adding that this makes it important to ensure that manifesto commitments were based on evidence and not populist ideas just to win votes.
“Elections belong to the people of Ghana. It affords individual Ghanaians to make choices about how their lives are governed; and secondly, so that individuals can hold the government to account,” she said.
She noted that the choices made by individuals should be informed by the policy propositions of the contenders which were enshrined in their manifestoes.
“Once elected, these manifestoes become the social contracts based on which citizens can demand accountability. This is an important part of democracy and presents the poor the opportunity to influence policy decisions.”
Madam Osei-Boateng said part of the “definition of being poor is to have no power to shape your own life; no power to make sure government policy meets your needs and no power to hold your leaders to account for what they do”.
She said election was however, one part of democracy and the key test was what happens between elections.
She said this was why the project was important to ensure that in between elections, government responds to the needs of the citizens which includes; providing quality basic services such as health, education and social protection and economic opportunities to enable individuals meet their aspirations.
“It is therefore, our hope that this project will be able to achieve its purpose of promoting responsible and responsive manifestoes for election 2020 and beyond.
“Importantly, it is also our hope that Ghana will sustain its strong track record in holding free and fair elections come December 2020,” she said.
“For Ghana to grown as a democracy and for its economy and people to flourish, it must have peaceful, fair and transparent elections. Anything other than that is step backwards for the people of Ghana,” Madam Osei-Boateng stated.