‘Transparency in party financing will measure spending’

Dr Lord Mensah, a lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, has called for a scrutiny of how political parties are financed in the country.

He explained that it would help to measure the spending of political parties and also deepen the democratic dispensation of the country and transparency in how the parties are funded to minimise how governing parties spend.

According to him, the citizenry would have to revisit how the political parties are funded while contributing to discussions on raging public sector debt debate since the issue of political party financing had been major concern for stakeholders.

“For instance, in a publication titled ‘Financial Transparency and Accountability‐Africa’ authored by H. Kwasi Prempeh and Stephen Kwaku Asare, Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and a private legal practitioner respectively, concerns were raised to the effect that legal regime for political party financing was extremely lose.

“According to the publication, the gaps in the law are compounded by gaps in implementation of the law, not only do political parties routinely fail to comply with provisions of the law, but also authorities with statutory mandate to check and punish violations of the law, namely Electoral Commission and Attorney-General, have consistently shown no inclination to enforce compliance with the law.

 “There is no reliable data on total amount raised or spent by political parties either on party administration or on election campaigns in any recent elections, bulk of party and campaign donations come in form of cash makes it impossible independently to collect or track information on funds raised or their sources.

“There is also no systematic collection of data on party and campaign spending, there is, nonetheless, sufficient impressionistic to suggest cost of political campaigning has reached astronomical levels in recent years, especially as competition between NPP and NDC has intensified since the 2000 elections, with one party often winning the elections by a relatively small margin.

“The current situation, where unlimited, undisclosed, and untraceable amounts of private money finance political parties and campaigns, poses danger to character and health of democracy and governance.

 “Big donors may also demand or influence their own appointment or appointment of their agents to key portfolios in government in order to promote their private interests and facilitate recovery of their campaign investments,” Dr Mensah warned. -3news.com

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