In recent times, political parties have sought to win elections using a bottom-up approach political strategy, where politicians seek the opinion of the citizenry by meeting directly with the people in their communities.
A notable example is that of the National Democratic Congress’s ‘Speak Out’ tour with ex-President John Dramani Mahama. The ‘Speak Out’ tour is a community-based and opinion-gathering forum embarked on by John Dramani Mahama and his team to provide the opportunity to communities across all 16 regions to share their opinions with the ex-President.
However, Country Director of SEND Ghana, George Osei-Akoto Bimpeh, has advised that political parties who wish to consult the people before drafting their manifestos must do so with a politically neutral group.
Speaking in an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show, he explained: “Consultation with the people must be neutral. This is because if a political party calls for consultation, it is likely that only followers of the party will be present”.
He furthered that, SEND Ghana, as a policy research group and a civil society organization, uses a participatory approach to consultation. Recently, SEND Ghana embarked on a research that revealed that Ghanaians yearn for social protection and as such political parties must include social intervention programs to alleviate poverty in the country.
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Noting how participatory the research was conducted, he said: “We didn’t base our research on political lines. Rather, we involved opinion leaders, women, the disabled and other social interest groups in the society. That is the difference. We are making the politician’s work easy. This is because they can draft their manifesto based on what the people are saying”.
He made known that the findings from this research have been made available to all major political parties in the country to help them draft their manifestos in line with the people’s ideas.
By: Alberta Dorcas N D Armah