There is pressure on the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to outdoor its manifesto after it had cancelled a scheduled launch of the policy document weeks after its campaign launch.
Last month, the NDC said it had rescheduled its manifesto launch which was slated for Sunyani, the Brong-Ahafo Regional capital, on August 27, announcing that it was incorporating ‘new ideas.’
Currently, there is heated debate over the release of manifestos by the contesting parties in the December general election, but the heat appears to be on the ruling party to ‘lead by example.’
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said it would delay the launching of its manifesto for this year’s elections because of the NDC’s track record of stealing ideas from the latter party and wasting them (ideas) in the long run.
The NDC had previously released two manifestos, especially in 2008, at the Trade Fair Centre in Accra but was later replaced with a new (‘updated’) one with no explanation.
As the debate rages on, NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia aka General Mosquito, has fired back, saying that the party was not waiting for the NPP before launching its manifesto.
He said at the inauguration of the ruling party’s campaign task force for the Volta Region that the NDC had always been ‘pacesetters’ of ideas on the political landscape and described the opposition party as ‘losers.’
Mr. Asiedu Nketia said at the event – which was used to commission the party’s new regional office – that “I have heard so many people say that NDC is waiting for NPP before we release our manifesto. We don’t learn from losers. We set the pace. I repeat, NDC does not learn from losers. We rather set the pace for them to copy.
“Nobody should be comparing us, our timing and programming has nothing to do with the NPP. We go according to our own plan.”
NDC campaign spokesperson, Joyce Bawa-Mogtari, who doubles as Deputy Minister of Transport, said in Accra that the manifesto had been ready for “a very, very long time” but said the arrangement for its launch had not been concluded for “strategic reasons.”
Ms Bawa-Mogtari attributed the delay in launching the document to the busy schedule of the party saying, “Sometimes even finding a suitable date is a challenge.”
She insisted that the party’s calendar makes provision that the manifesto would be launched after the campaign team has been put together, followed by a campaign launch.
“With these two items dispensed with, the manifesto is the next item,” she told Joy FM, but added that with a Muslim holiday coming up on 12 September, the NDC was left with no other choice than to schedule the launch after the holiday.
She promised that on September 13 – a day after the holiday – the NDC would release some highlights of the manifesto and added that she believed the delay in releasing party manifestos was not going to deprive the electorate of issue-based campaigns and said there was still time to debate the issues when the manifestos are finally released.
Ms. Bawa-Mogtari hinted that the soon-to-be outdoored NDC manifesto “will be a continuation of our existing manifesto” with an updated version.
Recently at the celebration of the 24th anniversary of the NDC, President John Dramani Mahama insisted that the party was not afraid to launch its manifesto early, even if the opposition plagiarized its (NDC’s) ideas.
“We as a party will not say that we will not launch our manifesto because we are afraid someone will copy it. Our ideas are original and we will launch our manifesto and if anybody wants they can copy us,” he averred adding, “Our manifesto which contains a detailed blueprint, will soon be launched and we will take the opportunity to engage Ghanaians in a conversation around the manifesto to foster understanding and insight into exactly what we have to offer them.”