EC must crack whip to sanitise political space

BY: Daily Graphic
EC Chairperson
EC Chairperson

The 1992 Constitution encourages the formation of political parties.

This is in sinc with the multiparty system of governance adopted when the Fourth Republic came into being.

Unfortunately, however, many of the registered political parties in the country have so far fallen short of the requirements needed to run them and have become dormant.

At the last count just this year, there were as many as 24 political parties registered by the Electoral Commission (EC), but, sadly, most of them exist only on paper and do not even contest general elections. These parties are never seen engaged in the governance process.

Instead of contributing meaningfully to national development efforts and making participatory democracy more vibrant, their inactivity gives room for some of them to be used as working tools for other political parties to create confusion in the minds of voters.

In the view of the Daily Graphic, this is most unfortunate and the trend, if allowed to persist, will not help the country reap the full dividends of multi-party democracy.

It is equally baffling that the supposed offices of these parties cannot be traced across the country.

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Even the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) which boast functioning offices at the regional, distinct and zonal levels are said to be infringing the law, as they have been cited for failing to, over the years, submit their updated statements of accounts to the EC, as required by law.

We wonder what is keeping the EC, which has been clothed with the power to sanitise the political space, from revoking the licences of dormant or moribund political parties and cracking the whip on others which flout the law with impunity.

In fact, we share the thoughts of an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, that the EC must ensure the rigid implementation of the country’s electoral laws, so that only political parties that can satisfy those laws will be made to exist.

After all, it is an open secret that some of the smaller political parties exist only as surreptitious branches of the major parties.

Indeed, we are challenging the smaller parties to honestly assess themselves and either merge to form a strong force or take steps to join the two major parties to create an organised political space in the country.

We have time and again expressed concern over the fact that as a country one of our biggest problems is our failure to implement the rules and laws we have set for ourselves.

If political parties that are seeking to lead the people are themselves not obeying the laws, coupled with the fact that the regulator is unwilling to crack the whip for them to toe the line, is it any wonder that other citizens have become lawless and indisciplined, with little hope of redemption?

We support Prof. Gyampo’s submission that the minor political parties, in their current state, are not political parties. We also think that enough time has been given them to revive themselves, 27 years into the Fourth Republic.

With the 2020 elections approaching, the EC must crack the whip to bring sanity into the political space for the good of all.