EC urged to enforce laws on political parties financing

Mrs Jean Mensah, EC boss

Mrs Jean Mensah, EC boss

Participants at a round table discussion have anonymously agreed that the Electoral Commission (EC) should reinforce laws on political parties financing in order to promote accountability.

They added that a regulatory framework should be set in order to supervise and monitor the operations of the parties to ensure transparency.

The consensus was made at a round table discussion held on Wednesday in Accra on the theme: Strengthening Developmental Political Parties in Ghana: A Call for Regulatory and Funding Reforms.

The one-day event was organised by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) with the aim of examining the performance of political parties in the country with special reference to its regulation and funding and how they could become more developmental.

The event was attended by political party leadership, representatives of civil society, media practitioners, religious leaders, youth groups, women’s groups, representatives of the EC and the National Commission for Civic Education.

Speaking on the theme, a former Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah noted that, the financing of political parties was a major cause of corruption in the country.

“The fact still remains that the manner and source of our funding creates room for corruption.”

Retelling his experience as an appointee of the previous government, Mr Ankrah noted that it was usually an awkward and difficult position when a party financier became the subject of investigations or a government contract was terminated due to financial misconduct, this he noted “created potential room for corruption”.

He further suggested that funding of party activities be open to members to contribute to enable the minimisation of the influence of financiers in the party.

Mr Ankrah  added that the quantum of money spent on political campaigns were too much  as Ghana was a developing country and its  citizens did not have access to basic social needs.

He indicated that even though democracy was expensive, Ghana was copying blindly from the Western world saying “its true democracy is expensive and is definitely a better alternative to any form of dictatorship.”

The former National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Peter Mac-Manu, on his part, said laws binding political parties financing needed to be enforced in order to strengthen development of political parties in the country.

He said that there was the need for the EC to strengthen its supervisory role on political parties because they were mandated to do so in order to ensure accountability.

The Executive Director of IDEG, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey indicated that the funding of political parties were fundamental for a country’s development.

He noted that electoral laws and other blueprints which were expected to guide the activities of political parties were flouted with impunity.

He indicated that there was the need to address issues on the funding of political parties in order to ensure their development saying “parties are the centre of democracy.”

BY ALLIA NOSHIE

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