Let’s build consensus on political party funding -Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama has called for concerted efforts to check and regulate political parties financing to address corruption and promote good governance.

According to him, although the state could not afford to fund political parties in the face of economic challenge, there was the need for pragmatic steps to check how political parties were financed since it comes with implications on the country’s developmental outcomes.

“Even though I do not recommend additional state financing at this time of national economic meltdown, I accept a lot more needs to be understood regarding how political parties are financed because these could have implications on our developmental outcomes. We must understand how politicians finance their campaigns for office, and to whom they are indebted and are expected to repay,” he explained.

The former President was speaking in Accra on Wednesday during the launch of his 2024 presidential fundraising platform.

He said it was imperative that the country engaged in sustained discussions and build consensus on funding political parties within the context of public policy to promote good governance and democratic practices in Ghana.

Former President Mahama noted that the consensus on political parties financing was relevant because of the viable role the parties play in promoting democracy and sustainable development in any country.

The parties, he said, perform key roles in the formation of the government, develop leaders at various levels, and serve as a watch dog for incumbent governments.

In the absence of checks and regulations on political parties financing, he said, wealthy party financiers might take over as political godfathers who determine electoral outcomes and how the country was governed.

Should state financing become an option in the future, Mr Mahama recommended the development of a Public Funding of Political Parties Bill in a bipartisan and inclusive manner.

He further recommended the selection of an independent and credible institution to administer the resources advanced to political parties.

“In that regard, a sharing formula could be established to ensure fairness and specific disclosure requirements on beneficiary parties. This must be complemented by auditing and publication of party accounts,” he added.

On the payment of ex-gratia, Mr Mahama reiterated his pledge to scrap ex-gratia if he was re-elected President.

“Let me state once again that I will scrap the payment of ex-gratia to members of the Executive and persuade other arms of government to accept same” and urged all, including the New Patriotic Party (NPP), to join in working towards scrapping the payment of ex-gratia.

He stated that an Independent Emoluments Commission would be instituted to determine the conditions of service of all public officers, from the President to the lowest ranking public officer on government’s payroll.

This, he noted, would replace the current ‘Double Spine Salary System’ – where Article 71 office holders were on a different spine separate from other public sector workers.

The necessary constitutional steps towards the scrapping of ex-gratia payment, he stated, would commence in 2025.

Mr Mahama also called for the intensification of stakeholder efforts and engagement on the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) to tackle corruption.

According to him, the sidelining of the NACAP by the current government was an unfortunate development which he intends to remedy should he be voted into office during the 2024 general elections.

“I want us to build the Ghana we want together by writing – not footnotes, not pages but – chapters in the anticorruption history of our dear country Ghana. We must also uphold human rights, including freedom of expression,” he said.

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