Party manifestos in Ghanaian politics

The two major political parties in Ghana (NPP and NDC) are currently moving through every nook and cranny of this country, campaigning without manifestos. Each one thinks the other will plagiarize their ideas. Because of this perception, they're all holding their ideas to themselves while they go about begging and buying votes. Some civil society organizations have criticized political parties for deciding to play a hide and seek game with each other.

But do people make their choices based on manifestos? In Ghana, the illiteracy rate is high,
and most politicians know this. They know most people who vote can't read. They don't know anything about a budget and inflation. They are not interested in the nitty-gritty. So, it will take these voters some time to get educated on some of the political jargon. Even most of the educated ones don't use manifestoes to make their choice.
Image Nana Addo and John Mahama 2016
Nana Akuffo Addo and John Dramani Mahama
When it comes to politics in Ghana, you don't need a PhD in political science to be a "hot cake". In fact, you don't need any qualification. All you need is to master the trivialities and use them to your advantage. The better you are able to pitch your opponent's tribe against other tribes, the more successful you would be in Ghanaian politics. Who is the most handsome or the ugliest? Judging the physical appearance of your opponent and using it against them is another great weapon. Some 'educated' politicians still think short people and people with disabilities in politics are like oil and water in Ghana; they can't mix! Some 'educated' and abled people think disabled people need to be "elevated" before they qualify to run for president.

Most uneducated and other averagely educated people are also dependent and selfish. They vote based on what they can get from a candidate for themselves rather than seeking the interest of their community. Their choices are, therefore, based on trivial issues. People who attend social gatherings the most are more like to get the votes than people who are always busy planning how to make things better for everybody. Funerals and other social gatherings have political benefits in Ghana. Politicians, especially parliamentary candidates, have now made it a part of their business to attend certain funerals they know have huge crowds. With the crowd on looking, they showcase sumptuousness so as to court selfish and lazy voters to their side.

Ghanaian politicians, once in power, don't rely on manifestos to govern. They are like firefighters, tackling issues as they arise, without plans to curtail the occurrence of same. Only a few leaders have tried to live by their manifestos and were successful. Party manifestos are now irrelevant to elections because politicians say things which are often difficult to implement when they succeed in deceiving their way to power.

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