John Dramani Mahama — Flag bearer, NDC, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia — Flag bearer, NPP
John Dramani Mahama — Flag bearer, NDC, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia — Flag bearer, NPP

2024 Elections: Move beyond promises

The upcoming election scheduled for December 7, 2024, in Ghana, has garnered significant attention due to the prevailing political landscape. It is evident from various polls that the election will primarily be contested by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).


These two parties have dominated Ghanaian politics since the country's democratic transition in 1992/1993. 

Despite the strong following for these two parties, there is a growing desire among the electorate for the emergence of a viable third force. 

This sentiment stems from a perceived failure of the NDC and NPP to deliver on their promises, leading to a decline in trust towards these parties and the democratic processes they represent.

Therefore, there is a pressing need for candidates and parties to go beyond mere rhetorical promises and articulate practical strategies for fulfilling their promises/commitments. 

The NPP seeks to secure a third consecutive victory, leveraging the slogan "breaking the 8" emphasising continuity to build on its perceived accomplishments. 

Conversely, the NDC aims to win power to revive the economy, create jobs and restore hope among Ghanaians. 

Both parties have been actively campaigning, with a strong focus on addressing issues such as job creation, government size reduction, constitutional reform, economic development, education and anti-corruption measures. 

However, there remains considerable doubt among voters, stemming from unmet campaign promises made by successive governments. 


The widespread lack of confidence in the two main political parties has manifested in a broader erosion of trust in national leaders and institutions, including the presidency, parliament, the ruling party and the opposition. 

This disillusionment poses a significant risk of voter apathy and potential split-ticket voting (skirt-andblouse voting), where an individual may vote for two different parties in the presidential and parliamentary elections. 

Given the critical role of these institutions in upholding democratic governance, candidates and parties must address the underlying causes for this erosion of trust and work towards restoring the faith of the electorate in the political system. 

Failure to do so is likely to further weaken the democratic foundations of the nation. 

The data presented in Table 1 illustrates the level of trust that Ghanaians have placed in various institutions from 2005 to 2022. 

According to the most recent Afrobarometer survey conducted in 2022, trust in the selected institutions has dropped to its lowest point. 

Trust in the President has decreased from 75 in 2005 to 32.2 in 2022, while trust in Parliament has similarly fallen from 68 to 27.5.

 Additionally, trust in the ruling party has declined from 67 to 27 and trust in the opposition has decreased from 51 to 28.7 during the same period and these statistics are worrying. 

It is evident from the table above that trust in state institutions fluctuates. 

As elections approach, trust in these institutions tends to fall but rise after the election. 

To reverse this trend, political candidates and parties should move beyond making superficial promises and outline actionable plans (when and how) for fulfilling these promises in their manifestos. 


Party manifestos should align with the priorities outlined by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to ensure that they are coherent with national interests.


We have observed instances where campaign promises were not fulfilled and even when they were, the implementation lacked thorough consideration and broad stakeholder participation.
The issue about campaign promises is not only about them not being fulfilled but also about the fact that many of those that are fulfilled are not well thought through, formulated and implemented. 

Three recent examples are the National Cathedral, One Village, One Dam and the free SHS. Furthermore, parties must address the issue of abandoned state projects scattered across the country in their manifestos. 

The abandonment of projects initiated by previous administrations reflects poorly on successive governments. 


We have had occasions where opposition parties have accused incumbents of abandoning their uncompleted projects. Unfortunately, when they are given power, they also do the same. 

Till now, we still have projects initiated by Former Presidents Kufuor (Ghana Affordable Housing Project) and Atta Mills (Saglemi Affordable Housing Project) uncompleted. Meanwhile, we have had leaders from President Kufuor and President Atta Mills’ parties coming into power after them. 
Ghanaians are discerning and believe in the power of their votes, as demonstrated by the 2022 Afrobarometer survey, where 80.2 per cent of respondents expressed confidence in the efficacy of their votes in removing non-performing leaders from office and rewarding performing governments with reelection. 

In conclusion, given the prevailing sentiment among the Ghanaian electorate and the increasing desire for a viable third political force, the NPP and the NDC must do something different this time. 

They must adopt and emphasise pragmatic strategies detailing the timing and methods through which they intend to fulfil their campaign and manifesto promises. 


Thus, they should show when and how they will fund their promises. This approach will play a crucial role in reinstating confidence and hope in the democratic process.

 The writer is a political scientist

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