Published on 07 Sep, 2021.
The Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) released its Post-Election Survey on 31st August 2021. The survey sought to probe the reasons for the outcome of the 2021 General Election, expectations of the current government and the 8th Parliament, its current state, and the citizenry's expectation. Data collection from 2,400 random respondents for this survey was done between 23rd May and 3rd June 2021.
There were a number of interesting findings from this research but we will focus the analysis on key findings we believe have great implication for the politics of the country and enforces what previous studies have revealed.
Unemployment has been a major problem in the country and has been one of the most influential in voter choices. It is therefore unsurprising that out of 25 listed policy priorities that respondents wanted the government to pay attention to, 57% favoured unemployment with the next four priorities being infrastructure and roads (36%), education (36%), management of the economy (32%) and health (19%). However, what is surprising is what the respondents prioritized regarding additional government investment. 36% of respondents mentioned education like FSHS, 26% prioritized infrastructure like roads and bridges, 14% chose healthcare including NHIS, and so on.
Is it not interesting how the biggest problem facing Ghanaians, according to respondents, is unemployment yet they think education (FSHS) should be prioritized with only 5% of respondents prioritizing the industrial transformation agenda through the 1D1F. Do Ghanaians not know what they want? Or CDD had the data wrong or maybe this finding has properly given insight into what Ghanaians really think and want.
To answer these questions, we need to pay attention to the occupation of the respondents and their perception of government. Only 3% of respondents have never had a job with 10% being a housewife/housemaker/student while 16% do not have a job and are searching. Considering these statistics, it is possible that these respondents know a lot of unemployed individuals looking for jobs and hence 57% of them having the view that unemployment remains our biggest problem as a country. One would have expected the respondents to prioritize industrialization (1D1F) since it’s the closest to creating more jobs and reducing the unemployment rate in the country.
So why then did they prioritize Free SHS? The answer is they have seen the government implement it, and as seen in the research, 45% of respondents were optimistic that the government will perform better in addressing educational needs which was the highest rate of confidence among the 5 options in public/social service delivery and 52% were confident in governments ability to consolidate the gains of the Free SHS programme which was also the highest rate of confidence in fulfilling the 2020 manifesto. Free SHS might not directly provide jobs but instead keeps money in the pockets of many Ghanaians who might be supporting the several unemployed family members or friends.
Confidence in the government's ability to execute policies was key in respondents arriving at this data. Respondents were not confused and CDD did not get it wrong. However, respondents (Ghanaians) lack confidence in the government's ability to execute successfully, the 1D1F to drastically reduce unemployment and hence, will rather trust a policy they have seen working and have benefited from directly or indirectly.
With the rate of confidence in the government’s ability to curb corruption and impunity among government officials being considerably low at 35%, the government must build trust by intensifying the fight against corruption because the Ghanaian voter has evolved and like the survey revealed, 67% of respondents will vote out elected officials belonging to the erring political party. The ruling government should not focus all efforts towards FSHS as respondents preferred, but should read between the lines and pay attention to what Ghanaians really need.
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