Mahama Wants Reforms To Political Parties Act

Former President John Dramani Mahama has called for reforms to the Political Parties Act of 1992 Constitution of Ghana in ensuring transparency and ethical financing of political campaigns in Ghana.



Specifically, the former President who is aspiring to be the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) wants Act 574 reformed.



It states that “A non-citizen shall not directly or indirectly make a contribution or donation or loan whether in cash or in kind to funds held by or for the benefit of a political party, and no political party or person acting for or on behalf of a political party shall demand or accept a contribution, donation or loan from a non-citizen.”



According to him, reforms to this aspect of the Act should be the “starting point” to promoting transparent and broad-based financing options for parties.



Additionally, he said political parties must be made to declare to the public their revenues and assets and the source of those revenues and assets.


He further referenced a recommendation by a write-up by the Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Alban Sumana Bagbin titled “Political Party Financing and Reporting in Ghana: Practitioner Perspectives”. 



“The authors recommended setting up a regulated fund, a common fund, or a matching fund. They opined that these must be well structured to serve as an incentive for political parties to source private sector funding from legitimate sources.”



He concluded that Ghana must be “bold in reviewing the entire framework of our democratic experiment, identifying reform gaps in the legal and institutional framework and push for reforms whether in the Constitution, Acts of Parliament or other legal frameworks that are holding back progress.”



The conversation about funding for political campaigns came after a report by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy on the Cost of Politics in Ghana showed that the cost of running for political office increased by 59% between 2012 and 2016.



It factored the cost of winning party primaries, winning parliamentary elections and term in office as an MP.



“During the party primaries candidates seek to respond to the demands of community interest groups whilst, during the parliamentary poll, these groups are ignored in favour of party officials, foot-soldiers and needy individuals. For those who successfully win a seat as an MP, those dynamics change again. (Alprazolam) What is consistent is the expectations of citizens that elected officials, or those seeking elected office, are the ones to provide for them. This can be through cash payments, lobbying for constituency projects in parliament and by “in-kind” rewards.”



According to the report, on average, candidates needed to raise GH₵389,803 to secure the party primary nomination and compete in the parliamentary election in their constituency in 2016.



It further found that the cost of doing politics was rising and feared that may breed corruption.



“If the cost of politics rises to unaffordable levels the danger is that politics becomes the domain of the elite and wealthy and that the motivation and incentives of MPs move from serving the public to recovering their own investment.”



Another Study by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) found that some financing of political campaigns comes from illegal activities such as illegal miners, oil bunkering businessmen, fraudulent businesses, and procurement dealings in the award of contracts, among others.



This has raised a lot of concerns for some Ghanaians, especially Civil Society Organisations (CSO), who have recommended state funding of political parties.





Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini

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