Verdict: MOSTLY FALSE (3 STARS)
Campaign Manager for the opposition NDC Professer Joshua Alabi on Tuesday September 8, granted an interview on Starr 103.5 Fm in response to the Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah’s reaction to the NDC’s People’s Manifesto launched on Monday September 7. In that interview, the former UPSA Vice Chancellor said the governing NPP has a bad track record when it comes to fulfilling campaign promises. He went further to claim that in 2016, the NPP promised, one child one chocolate.
“the informational(sic) minister has been tasked to talk. So he just has to be talking. In 2016, they promised a lot of things so if we want to look at trust and track record then they should rather go and sleep, they have no place in Ghanaian politics. They promised school children, one child one chocolate, the children have not seen the chocolate, is that a good track record?”
Days before this interview, NDC flagbearer John Dramani Mahama referenced the “one-child-one-chocolate” promise while touring the Upper West Region. Given the repetitive nature of the claim, Starrfmfactchecker deems it necessary to provide the facts about it.
Based on the fact that the period referenced in this claim is the 2016 electioneering campaign, Starrfmfactchecker began the verification by first checking the 2016 manifesto of the governing NPP. The 192 paged document titled “Change; an agenda for jobs; Creating Prosperity & Equal Opportunity for All” spelt out the policies, directions and targets of the then opposition party going into that year’s election. Promises relating to education are captured in the ninth chapter of the 2016 manifesto of the governing NPP. On page 104 of the manifesto, the NPP declared “Education to be a major priority and commits itself to a bold, creative and visionary and all-embracing program for the transformation of education in Ghana. To achieve that, the NPP outlined core elements of the program to include free education for all Ghanaian children up to senior high school; raise the quality of education at primary and senior high school level, with emphasis on science and mathematics as the fundamental building blocks for success as well as work with Universities to raise their standards to the ranks of the best among their peers in Africa and beyond.
The chapter of education in the NPP’s 2016 manifesto spans 12 pages (cover page inclusive). Starrfmfactchecker perused all these pages and found no evidence of a “one child one chocolate” promise in there. Starrfmfactchecker proceeded to check details outlined in the manifesto as relates to agriculture because issues about cocoa, the substance that chocolate is made from falls within the sector. The NPP’s agenda for the agricultural sector is detailed in chapter 4 of the 2016 manifesto. On page 53, the party stated that its “objective over the next four years is to restore production to over one million metric tonnes per annum”. (Source: NPP 2016 Manifesto)
The image below captures the proposals outlined in the manifesto to achieve the objective.
(Source: NPP 2016 Manifesto)
Starrfmfactchecker found no mention of a promise of one child one chocolate in the section on Agriculture as well. A search of the phrase “one child one chocolate” in the 192 paged manifesto showed zero results.
Starrfmfactchecker proceeded to do an internet search about promises made by the NPP on campaign platforms by then presidential candidate, vice presidential candidate and other party officials during the 2016 electioneering campaign. The search showed no results on a promise made relating to one child, one chocolate.
Did the NPP ever a promise to provide one child with one chocolate?
In an interview early this year senior NPP member Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko denied knowledge about a promise to provide one child with a bar of chocolate saying that he never heard President Akufo Addo make that promise.
However, internet search conducted by Starrfmfactchecker showed results of a promise made by the NPP to provide each child with a bar of chocolate every day. The promise was made by President Akufo Addo in October 2017, nearly a year after the NPP had won the 2016 general elections. The President made the promise in Kumasi on the occasion of World Cocoa Day and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Ghana Cocoa Board.
The president is quoted to have said that “the Ministry of Agriculture through COCOBOD, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection through the school feeding programme, and the Ministry of Education through the Ghana Education Service, are to ensure the sustained provision of cocoa beverages and chocolates to school children from primary school to secondary level,” adding that the “ target is to provide every Ghanaian student with a bar of chocolate or cocoa beverage each day whilst in school.”
From the available facts, Starrfmfactchecker finds that the claim made by Campaign Manager for the NDC Prof. Joshua Alabi that in 2016 the NPP promised one child one chocolate is inaccurate. The governing NPP did not make such a promise in the 2016 electioneering campaign. It is not captured in the party’s 192 page document and no news stories were published of utterances of any major NPP official with regards to such a promise in 2016. However in October 2017, President Akufo Addo made a promise on the occasion of World Cocoa Day, to provide each child from basic to secondary school one bar of chocolate each day. Given as the promise was made in 2017 and not in 2016 as claimed by Prof. Alabi, the starrfmfactchecker rates the claim that “in 2016, the NPP promised one child, one chocolate” as mostly false and accordingly gives it 3 stars.