Research faults political party manifestos for lacking social protection
Research by the Department Political and Administrative studies at Chancellor College in Zomba on party manifestos and social protection has faulted political parties for not being serious on issues of social protection.
Kondwani Farai Chikadza from the Chancellor College led the team of researchers on the matter and was disseminated in Lilongwe under the funding of International Labour Organisation through Outreach Scout Foundation.
According to the paper, only two political parties’ manifestos have dedicated sections that were set aside for social protection as a standalone thematic pillar.
“One party has a sub-section titled “Protection of vulnerable persons” covering the majority of its social protection pledges. Otherwise, the remaining three make pledges that fit into the national and international social protection frameworks in the various social policy pillars of their manifestos. These include agriculture, health, education and infrastructure development,”
Speaking on the workshop held to publicise the results of the analysis of political party manifestos as they were developed prior to 2019 and 2020, the analysis was to review how social protection was embedded in the manifestos.
This was a follow up to the orientation we had with the political parties in 2018 on social protection.
The study was commissioned by ILO as party of advocacy for social protection programmes in (Malawi) this country.
In the research two arguments explain why Political party manifestos are held responsible for Social protection and this was because pledges that political parties make in their manifestos go a long way after elections compared to interventions that are solely technocratic.
According to the paper, implementing and sustaining the program requires political commitment from almost all key political actors, including political parties.
According to the paper, in order to offer a comprehensive analysis, the study adopted the Malawi National Social Support Program (MNSSP II), ILO Convention 102 and Recommendation 202 as its framework of analysis hence the main objective of the presentation of manifesto analysis which was to build consensus among leading political parties on social protection.
According to the paper for example Democratic Progressive Party Manifesto does not have dedicated pillar on Social protection despite identifying social protections programs.
“The DPP manifesto of 2019 does not have a dedicated pillar on social protection. It however demonstrates a fair understanding of what constitutes social protection by rightly identifying “social protection programmes” that the party has been implementing during the time it been in government.
The manifesto specifically singles out Social Cash Transfers, Village Savings and Loans (VSL), Public Works Programme and School Feeding Programmes as such programmes. Unsurprisingly, these are the programmes that constitute the MNSSP II which was indeed developed in 2018 under the stewardship of the DPP led Government.”
The research faulted DPP manifesto for not having social protection as a stand alone pillar.
“However, in the 2019 DPP manifesto, social protection does not feature as a standalone theme although several instruments that are within the national and international social protection frameworks have appeared under different social policy areas notably
education, health, nutrition as well as “the Elderly and People with Special Needs”.
DPP Acting Director of elections Joseph Kachale admitted that Tonse Alliance Manifesto was indeed pro poor.
” Yes its true that our colleagues had comprehensive pro poor manifesto which helped them carry the day however their manifesto is very difficult to implement because the national budget cannot support the manifesto in other words its very expensive.”
The research however commended the 2019 MCP manifesto which had a sub-section that is explicitly devoted towards unpacking the party’s social protection pledges.
“The section spells out that social protection is concerned with protecting and helping those who are poor and vulnerable such as children, women, older people, people with disabilities, the displaced, the unemployed, and the sick.”
Accorsing to the research the MCP manifesto identifies these children, women, older people, people with disabilities, the displaced, the unemployed, and the chronically ill as categories of the society that are poor and marginalised thus requiring assistance.
Asked if DPP lost because of poor manifesto, Kachali said that is not true.
He said ; “Tonse Alliance won because of cheap fertilizer one million jobs cheap passports , driving licence but the question is implementation.
Outreach Foundation Executive Director Amon Lukhere commended the research saying this will go along way in having good manifestos next time.