Dr Yao Graham — Coordinator of the Third World Network, Africa, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah — Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress
Dr Yao Graham — Coordinator of the Third World Network, Africa, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah — Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress

Graphic's Your Ghana, My Ghana programme: NPP, NDC must prioritise public interest - Speakers

The two major political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), have been urged to prioritise the needs and interests of the public.


That, according to a leading civil society activist and a trades unionist, would enable the country to achieve appreciable socio-economic development. The Coordinator of the Third World Network, Africa, Dr Yao Graham, and the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, who made the call, pointed out that the main reason for the lack of socio-economic development was that the two major political parties prioritised the interests of their members over those of the general public.

That, they said, was evident in the lack of competency in the criteria for appointments, resulting in a public sector filled with unqualified loyalists. They were speaking at a panel discussion on the ‘Your Ghana, My Ghana’ programme hosted by Graphic Online on its YouTube social media network last Friday.

They sought to proffer answers to the question, “Should Bawumia and Mahama call a truce to hold a summit to re-engineer our governance system?”, the theme for the talk show.

“The parties are dominated by small cliques of people who control resources; who treat the rest of the membership as beneficiaries of their patronage. For as long as we continue with party politics, we will have a situation where the interests of the parties to survive will always supersede the interests of the nation,” Dr Graham posited. 

Political bankruptcy

He said the major parties had lost the goodwill of the people because they had been inefficient in addressing the needs and bettering the lives of ordinary Ghanaians after more than three decades of party rule.

“A lot of people are not looking forward to the coming elections with excitement. If the NDC wins the elections, it’ll be because people want to get rid of the NPP, not because they have great expectations of the NDC. In different ways, the NPP and the NDC are bankrupt in terms of their attitude to the population and people’s experience of them as ruling parties,” he said.

However, he stated that as political awareness among the people continued to grow, a time would come when the parties and the political class would have no choice but to show that they care about what the electorate thinks. 

Role of CSOs

Dr Baah also stressed that civil society organisations (CSOs) were also gearing up to open the minds and eyes of the general public to the inefficiencies of the two major parties.  He disclosed that the Africa Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), in partnership with the TUC and other CSOs, was developing a social contract initiative that would help inform the policy decisions of the major parties.

The TUC Secretary-General said the initiative had become significant because it seemed the parties had no idea what policies to implement in order to transform the fortunes of the country and therefore urged them to collaborate with the organisations for national development.

“This is the first time TUC has come out with a workers’ manifesto. We have been here for 32 years now. It means gradually you’ll see other CSOs, including traditional leaders coming with their demands and the political party that will survive will be the one that aligns itself with the aspirations of these CSOs,” Dr Baah added.

Way forward

Dr Graham advised the parties to fix their internal accountability structures if they actually cared about transforming the country and also called for the emergence of other political forces to challenge the influence of the two major parties.

That, he said, was because even though the manifestos of both parties had indicated that the political class recognised the key challenges facing the country and Africa in general, those at the helm of the party continued to view power as a means to advance their interests and those of their associates.

The correction, Dr Graham said, could also come from other political forces on the agenda and showing that things could be done differently so that there’s a challenging culture so that the cozy alternation between the two parties comes to be challenged.

In order to achieve real change and nation transformation, the TUC Secretary-General entreated political parties to adopt a system where people outside the party would be allowed to hold offices and manage resources provided they had the capacity or were competent enough to manage.

“When the political parties take over, what we have all observed is that when you’re not linked to the party, you’re not likely to be placed in a position to manage the resources of the country. But we have a situation where you may have a whole chunk of people outside the party who may manage better,” Dr Baah stated.

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