Unrealistic campaign promises are a staple in elections across the world, and nowhere has that been truer than in Ghana – until now. In 2016, Accra-based IMANI Center for Policy and Education launched its IMANIFesto Campaign, which estimated the costs and rated the feasibility of all campaign promises made by the country’s major political parties.
In order to determine the cost and viability of campaign promises, IMANI developed a three-pronged quantitative assessment framework that determines the “quality” of a campaign promise, notably its financial viability, its impact on private sector development, and the overall policy implications of implementing such a promise.
IMANI identified all the promises made by the six leading political parties as of August 2016, and sorted them into three categories: quantifiable, semi-quantifiable, and non-quantifiable. In doing so, IMANI shed light on how well political parties were doing in terms of making financially measurable promises.
A total of 247 promises were identified, out of which 18 were quantifiable, 43 were semi-quantifiable, and 186 were non-quantifiable. So, the data showed that the vast majority of the promises that the parties presented were not assessable and were “empty promises.” To support this initial framework IMANI published four major research reports as part of the campaign, each with an accompanying press event covered by national media outlets and geared toward political candidates, parties, and members of the government.
Supplementing this initiative was near-constant attention in the national media and IMANI’s savvy use of social media, which stirred the public debate by reaching over 2 million Facebook users and nearly 1 million Twitter users from August to November of 2016, making IMANIFesto a household name in Ghana.
“IMANIFesto became a reference point that benchmarked political promises along quantifiable metrics that the common man could relate to and is now the blueprint for political communication along the lines of policy promises,” said Franklin Cudjoe, founding president and CEO of IMANI.
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