IMANI Africa (IMANI Ghana), a prominent policy think tank in Ghana, is expected to maintain a high level of neutrality in the political and campaign landscape.
Despite the absence of constitutional restrictions on workers/volunteers of civil society organizations openly supporting or campaigning for a presidential candidate, it’s safer and better for these organizations to value political neutrality for the sake of its integrity and the effectiveness of its mission – holding all governments and political leaders accountable.
The recent actions of IMANI’s Senior Vice President, Kofi Bentil, openly campaigning for Dr. Bawumia on social media prompts a reflection on the organization’s primary role as a platform for shaping policy discussions and formulations in Ghana.
It raises questions about the deviation from these responsibilities to the extent of senior leaders transforming into social media campaign managers for a specific presidential candidate.
IMANI, ideally a neutral body, is expected to scrutinize the 2024 manifestos of all political parties and objectively assess the feasibility of their policies in addressing the country’s economic and social challenges.
The concern arises as esteemed leaders from the same organization now appear to act as “social media landguards,” defending one candidate against another without a clear policy foundation.
The absence of explicit disapproval from IMANI’s President, Franklin Cudjoe, regarding Kofi Bentil’s recent campaigns may lead to the assumption that IMANI, as an institution, is now an extension of the NPP party.
This could impact the organization’s credibility and influence in the eyes of the public and future governments.
In addition, the current situation raises questions about the true nature of IMANI’s engagement in policy analysis, as the focus seems to shift towards favoring a specific presidential candidate rather than objectively comparing and contrasting all economic and social policies of political parties.
The potential consequences, including diminished trust and relevance, should be of concern to IMANI and its leadership, especially if they remain adamant in addressing these concerns.
If Kofi Bentil wants to engage in active frontline politics, then he should resign as IMANI’s Senior Vice President and wear the number 10 jersey for the NPP.
I expect the IMANI board of directors and their President, Franklin Cudjoe, to call their Senior Vice-President, Kofi Bentil, to order.
Sa-ad Iddrisu, PhD
Economist, Louisiana State Gov’t (LED)