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Mon, Oct

Crack whip on political parties for breaching Political Parties Law

Mrs Charlotte Osei — EC boss

It is not for nothing that there are rules and regulations governing the conduct of political parties in the country.

For political parties seeking to superintend over the affairs of the state and for that matter manage the resources of the country, it is incumbent on them to be accountable to the people they seek to govern.

Without accountable and transparent governance, development will be greatly impeded and it is for this reason that much is expected of our political parties to show and lead the way in making accountable governance a way of life.

Regrettably, one area that the political parties have consistently showed little interest in is their adherence to the Political Parties Law which mandates them to submit their audited statements of accounts to the Electoral Commission (EC) six months after every general election.

Section 14 (2) of the Political Parties Law 2000, Act 574, states that “a political party shall, within six months after a general or by-election in which it has participated, submit to the commission, a detailed statement in such form as the commission may direct of all expenditure incurred for that election”.

The act further stipulates that “a statement submitted under that section shall be supported by a statutory declaration made by the General or National Secretary and the National Treasurer of the political party”.

This provision is not for the fun, but to ensure that those who are seeking the mandate of the populace are themselves accountable to the citizenry.

It is most worrying, however, that in this country, even though the law is clear on what the political parties need to do, many of them deliberately flout it. This does no good to the development of multi-party democracy and the rule of law in the country.

It is barely 14 days left for the political parties that participated in the 2016 Election to submit their audited statements of accounts to the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Daily Graphic is wondering whether they can meet the deadline of June 30, 2017.

At this point in time the Daily Graphic appeals to the political parties to work hard to meet their statutory obligations and responsibilities to enhance the growth of the country’s democracy.

We recall that just before the 2016 elections, a few political parties were able to submit their financial statements to the EC as the law required, with most of them flouting it.

Section 14 (1) on the operations of political parties states that “a political party shall, within 21 days before a general election, submit to the commission a statement of its assets and liabilities in such form as the commission may direct”.

The trend definitely cannot be allowed to fester and we need our political parties to be up and doing and not to take the people and the parties’ responsibilities towards the citizenry for granted.

Although the country’s democratic journey has been touted globally as exemplary within the sub-region, political parties, as key stakeholders, need to show more commitment to transparency and the rule of law.

The Daily Graphic thinks the EC has, over the last two decades or so, treated the political parties with kid gloves and must crack the whip on political parties that treat the commission and the law with contempt.