The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has revealed that a parliamentary candidate spent as much as $85,000 (GH¢416,500) on average, to contest a party’s primaries and the parliamentary elections, prior to the 2016 elections.
If this report is anything to go by, then it would be good to note that, a gargantuan $23 million or better still GH¢114,537,500, may have been spent by the 275 or more parliamentary aspirants in 2016.
These whooping sums according to the CDD-Ghana was mostly from the pockets of the parliamentarians and this they said, could have implications for personal debt amongst politicians and consequentially, corruption.
It could be recalled that not long ago, Mr. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, a former Minister of Youth and Sports and a National Democratic Congress (NDC) stalwart, had in a rare public confession indicated that, the failure of successive governments to effectively fight corruption is due to the existence of political party financiers, who seek to recoup financial investments made in political parties during the election campaign.
To address this seeming mishap, CDD-Ghana amongst other things have called for a national dialogue among political parties, electoral institutions, and civil society to deliberate on the impact of money on politics and the expectations citizens and politicians have in terms of its regulation.
In a bulletin, CDD-Ghana further summarised its research on political party financing in Ghana and suggested ways through which the corruption breeding practice could be tackled.
In lowering the cost of election campaigns, CDD-Ghana suggests that the Electoral Commission (EC) together with other stakeholders work together to amend the PNDC Law 284?to set a six-month campaigning period prior to a general election.
This they said could help minimise cost, check abuse of incumbency and regulate campaign financing.
“EC, IPAC and other major stakeholders should work towards lowering cost including placing a ceiling on campaign expenditure.”
“EC should establish an enforcement unit, which should include a legal advisory support, to enforce laws regarding the conditions for maintaining a registered party and accounting for political party campaign finances,” the CDD-Ghana bulletin read.
They further advised that the EC standardise its schedule of fees for nomination and accreditation.
On state funding, CDD-Ghana believes political parties, “must be required to raise (and show proof that they have raised) a certain amount of money from their membership, before they may even be considered for state funding.”