THE New Patriotic Party (NPP) yesterday took another phenomenal step in its quest to retain political power with the launch of its Election 2008 manifesto, which its flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, described as “a document that will move Ghana into a First World status”.
Launching the 64-page manifesto, which is titled, “Moving Ghana Forward - Building a Modern Ghana”, Nana Akufo-Addo said there was no party with a credible programme of managing the country like the NPP.
“Our goal is not a middle-income status but to get to the First World so that we join the others with dignity and pride,” he said to thunderous cheers from party faithful who had gathered at "Dwabrem" or the Centre for National Culture (CNC), Kumasi, where the event took place.
Thousands of other party faithful who could not get entry into the venue watched the event on giant television screens mounted at some locations within the spacious CNC.
The document is in five chapters. Chapter One is titled, "Achievements — A Promise Delivered", while Chapter Two has the title, "Strengthening Our Democracy".
Chapter Three is on the title, “Structural Transformation of the Economy”, with Chapter Four being titled, “Modernising Our Society”, while Chapter Five has the title, “Regional and Continental Integration”.
Nana Akufo-Addo wrote the foreword to the manifesto, while the Chairman of the party, Mr Peter Mac Manu, wrote the introduction.
The Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama; the running mate to Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia; the party’s founders, Ministers of State, NPP Members of Parliament and other leading members of the party were present at the launch.
The enthusiastic party supporters responded in unison and sang the “Go, go, go high” chorus as female gospel musician, Philippa Baafi, sang at the ceremony just before Nana Akufo-Addo mounted the podium to deliver his address.
The presidential aspirant, who traced the political developments leading to the birth of the Fourth Republic, said the road had been long and tortuous.
"However, the sacrifices of many people alive and dead have led us as a nation to accept democratic governance as the best form of governance for the nation," he said.
As the nation prepares for the elections, Nana Akufo-Addo reiterated the need for peace, saying that there was no need for the blood of a single Ghanaian to be shed in the name of the elections.
He said in the free and fair elections which everyone expected in December, there would be only one winner – the Ghanaian.
Nana Akufo-Addo stated that the NPP inherited a nation whose economy was virtually dead, yet President Kufuor had, through hard work, led the government to initiate pragmatic economic policies that had brought hope to the people.
On education, he said the free basic education had led to a 30 per cent increase in enrolment at the primary level within the last three years, adding that significantly 50 per cent of the enrolment was in the three northern regions.
Nana Akufo-Addo also touched on developments in health, infrastructure and other areas and said those were clear pieces of evidence that the NPP government had delivered on its promises and, therefore, deserved re-election.
The presidential aspirant said with those achievements, what was left was the need to tackle the great issues of the future, which his presidency was ready to address.
For instance, he said, the nation could not continue to be a raw material economy in the 21st century.
"We have to industrialise our nation and move away from being dependent on foreign finished products," he noted.
In all that, he noted, education held the key, explaining why he had promised free compulsory senior high school education if elected President.
Nana Akufo-Addo said Ghana could take advantage of the large West African market if it moved into industrialisation.
He commended the manifesto committee for doing a good work.
Alhaji Mahama noted that Nana Akufo-Addo had brought new energy to the party, adding that from all indications the party was poised for total victory in December.
He said the NPP had proved to be the party of the people and, therefore, urged the people to vote massively for Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP in December.
Mr Mac Manu, for his part, said Ghana had earned international respect under President Kufuor and that Nana Akufo-Addo was ready to add to it as the next President.
He stated that the NDC or any other opposition party did not deserve to govern the country because it would draw back the nation's progress.
Presentations on the thematic areas of the manifesto were made by various speakers, including Mr Alan Kyerematen, a former Minister of Trade, Industry, President’s Special Initiatives (PSIs) and Private Sector Development (PSD); Mr Boakye Agyarko, a former Vice-President of the Bank of New York; Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, PSI and PSD, and Mr Mustapha Hamid, the Spokesman for Nana Akufo-Addo.
Commenting on the manifesto in an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, said it would surely bring hope to the people of Ghana.
He said the NPP had shown once again that it had the plans to further turn the economy around.