IDEG: EC position on district party offices unrealistic

Mr. Jonah

Mr. Jonah

Kwesi Jonah, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), has described as unrealistic the provisions that enjoin political parties to have offices in all the regions.
Article 55 of the 1992 Constitution and Political Parties’ Law 2000, (Act 574) mandates political parties to have branches in all the regions of Ghana and, in addition, be organised in not less than two-thirds of the districts in each region.
According to him, the requirement was intended to discourage the growth and development of ethno-regional political parties, drawing support and membership from a particular region or ethnic group.
In an interview on the sidelines of a two-day project evaluation workshop on small political parties and multiparty democracy in Ghana (SPMDG), Mr Jonah noted that the provisions had become impractical, repressive and misinterpreted.
The project was to build the capacity of small political parties, help them to enhance the mobilisation of more members in particular women and youth and support them to win more seats in Parliament.
Mr Jonah explained that “those inclined to use the provision as repressive instrument have construed the provision to mean that parties should operate actual offices in two-thirds of the country’s administrative districts.
“The number of districts has expanded exponentially from 110 in 1993 to 216 in 2016 with 38 more districts to be created soon, the small parties cannot open offices in all districts anytime the number shoots up.
“Though many parties have registered with the EC, two political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), have become the main dominant parties in the country,” Mr Jonah intimated.
Touching on the achievement of the project, he said the project provided platform for small parties to voice their concerns about crucial national issues, build a sense of solidarity and defend the cause of democratic values.
The small parties commended IDEG and its partners for supporting them to build their capacity to effectively play their public service role in influencing political opinion in the country’s democratic governance system. -GNA

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