Political parties are expected to contribute meaningfully to national development efforts and make participatory democracy more vibrant. Most political parties in the country, however, are dormant and have simply failed in the requirements needed to run a political party.
Their inactivity has given room for some of them to be used as pawns for other political parties to create confusion in the minds of voters.
These parties are never seen advocating for policy changes, people’s rights and or leading reform discussions on national issues thereby contributing next to nothing to the governance process.
At best, majority of them are only heard of during the election period and go dormant soon after elections only to re-surface again during an election year.
Because of their inactivity, the citizenry do not get the best out of the political parties to run an effective electoral process.
Parties exist in name
As of 2019, there are 24 political parties listed on the website of the Electoral Commission (EC). The commission's latest data on political parties shows most of them do not contest in general elections and only exist on paper.
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Political parties such as Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE Party) - founded in 1992, Ghana Democratic Republican Party (GDRP) - founded in 1992, United Ghana Movement (UGM) - founded in 1996, Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD) - founded in 2007, United Renaissance Party (URP) - founded in 2007, New Vision Party (NVP) - founded in 2008, United Love Party (ULP) - founded in 2008, United Development System Party (UDSP) - founded in 2012, and the Yes People's Party (YPP) founded in 2012 are all recognised by the EC as registered political parties. Others are the United Front Party - founded in 2011, and Ghana National Party (GNP) - founded in 2007. Yet, these parties only exist on paper and in name.
Difficult to trace offices
A political party such as Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) - founded in 2006, merged with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2012 and had since written to advise the election management body of its defunct status but till date, it is still captured by the EC as a duly registered political party in the country.
It is equally difficult to trace the offices of some of the political parties. A political party such as the Ghana Freedom Party has its two-room headquarters sitting right in the bush. Others which used to be party offices have been turned into commercial centres giving the impression that they are not operating as serious political parties.
Motivation to exist
While the two major political parties, the ruling New Patriotic Party and the dominant opposition National Democratic Congress, are contributing to the governance procesees and have functioning offices in all the regional capitals, as well as some district and zonal levels, same cannot be said of the other registered political parties. So what is their motivation to exist as political parties?
Disservice to nation
Dormant political parties are a disservice to a nation’s progress.
Long before the Mrs Jean Mensa-led EC, the EC had dropped hints on several occasions to expunge the names of non-functional political parties in the country from their books.
Yet many are wondering why the EC is finding it so difficult to weed out dormant parties by revoking their licences. Twenty-seven years into multiparty democracy in the country, is it not about time to delist the moribund political parties?
Is it not about time the EC tightened the noose on dormant political parties and expunge them from the EC’s political parties’ list?
Clean up political space
All parties that have failed to meet the political parties regulations must be made to sit up or lose their political party status. If the smaller political parties are finding it difficult to exist on their own then it will be prudent for them to merge or unite to compete with the bigger boys -the NPP and the NDC.
It is time for the EC to put its feet down to get rid of all these political parties which are undermining the electoral laws so that there will be some sanity in the political space.
The EC should be prepared to crack the whip on moribund parties and make the 2020 polls more transparent to sustain the vibrancy of the country’s democracy, as well as make the next general election more credible.