The policy or the person? A corpus-based functional analysis of manifestos of two political parties in Ghana

  • Kwabena Sarfo-Kantankah University of Cape Coast


Containing the set of policies that political parties stand for and wish to implement if they are elected to govern a country, manifestos are a campaign tool used by political parties to persuade the citizenry to vote in a certain direction. This paper uses corpus-linguistic methods to investigate the key concepts in the manifestos of two Ghanaian political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National democratic Congress (NDC). The objective is to examine the strategies and the focus of the manifestos of the two parties. The analysis reveals that while the NPP target both policy and the personalities of their opponent candidates, the NDC appear to focus mainly on policy. The paper concludes that, whether policy or personality focus, contextual relevance is the key. Thus, the paper proposes a relevance model of political campaign discourse. The paper has implications for political discourse, political campaigning and political communication.