Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Ghana: NPP launches its campaign for December 2012 elections

In a bid to take back the political initiative from new President John Mahama, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) launched its manifesto, entitled “Transforming Our Lives; Transforming Ghana, building a free, fair and prosperous society”, and held a campaign rally at Mantse Agbona in James Town which is one of the poorest areas of the capital Accra.
The 2012 presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and all of the NPP parliamentary candidates were officially presented to the electorate. Former President John Agyekum Kufuor also spoke at the event. This was meant to show the NPP's new sense of unity cementing the bonds between Akufo-Addo (Akypem); Bawumia (Northern Muslim ex-President Kufuor (Ashanti).
Akufo-Addo got that message across effectively and concentrated on pushing an overall positive note – about the NPP's determination to invest in mass education and training, and boost opportunities for entrepreneurs. Secondary education for all is the NPP's big new idea – even if they are doubts about its cost see Comment & Analysis) If elected the transformation of the country's education structure would be the cornerstone of NPP government policy. Akufo-Addo told supporters his party would redefine a school system in which 60% of children did not reach secondary school and some did not even make it into the classroom.
The NPP's launch went down well in Greater Accra which is a swing region and a key test of voter sentiment. It established the NPP as policy-heavy and was a sharp rebuke to the NDC which had been relying on strong voter sentiment for the late President John Atta Mills and his role as “prince of pace”.
The manifesto launch has both sharpened and elevated the election campaign above the previous name calling on both sides. The attack dogs are, however, still operating but both Akufo-Addo and Mahama are trying to rise above it by adopting a statesmanlike demeanour. The NPP chairman denigrated the Mills-Mahama government as Ghana's “worst-ever” which, to many, might seem hyperbole but it will certainly spark a fierce response from the NDC's own militants.
For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.
© 2012 Menas Associates

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