CDD: Political party financing can undermine democracy

Prof Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director, CDD

Prof Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director, CDD

The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), has observed that the way resources are mobilised by political parties in the country tends to undermine their role in consolidating democracy and delivering development.

 

“The issues of linkages between the way parties finance campaigns, operations and inability of governing parties to tackle corruption has been a recurring debate since the country was ushered into the Fourth Republic as a multi-party democracy.
“In 2016, a parliamentary candidate spent as much as $85,000 on average to contest his/her party’s primaries and parliamentary elections and most common source of revenue was personal income,” it noted.
In a recommendation on lowering of campaign funds, the CDD called on political parties to satisfy all their constitutional and statutory obligations before they qualified for funding and required to raise, show proof they have raised a certain amount of money from their membership, before considered for state funding.
It noted that such funds should be used for specific capacity-building activities like policy research and development as opposed to paying emoluments to party executives and “volunteers” to ensure parties do not become unofficial employment agencies for their so-called foot soldiers.

The recommendation said the number of seats a particular political party has in parliament, total vote a party obtained in the last general election, number of functioning regional party offices, and the number of years a particular political party has been in existence should be the formula to access state funding.

It called for initiation of a national dialogue among political parties, electoral institutions, and civil society to deliberate on impact of money on politics and expectations of the citizenry and politicians had in terms of its regulation.

“The Electoral Commission (EC), Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), and stakeholders should work together to amend PNDC Law 284 to set a six-month period for campaigning during each year of general election to minimise cost, check abuse of incumbency and regulate campaign financing.

“The EC should establish an enforcement unit, which should include a legal advisory support, to enforce laws regarding conditions for maintaining a registered party and accounting for political party campaign finances.

“The EC should work on standardising its schedule of fees for nomination, accreditation and set fees to cover administrative cost for services provided which allows for transparency, justification for fees and generate internally generated funds,” the recommendation said.–starrfmonline.com

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