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Let’s introduce public funding of political parties — IDEG

BY: Kester Aburam Korankye
IDEG
Mr Kwesi Jonah

The time is right for public financing of political parties in the country, a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Mr Kwesi Jonah, has stated.

That, he explained, would help strengthen smaller parties and deepen the democratic credentials of the country.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, Mr Jonah said the two dominant political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) remained the only parties that won elections because
the two parties had the financial muscle to organise properly and out-perform the smaller ones.

“What has kept some of the smaller parties down over the years is lack of resources, and they are unable to compete on a level playing field, so I believe the time has come to encourage public financing of political parties because money is controlling everything and the smaller parties are suffering,” he said.

Multiparty democracy

Mr Jonah, who has vast experience in democratic governance, explained that well-functioning multiparty democracies made room for different political parties, representing different views of the population to compete and win political office.

“It makes for inclusion and the representation of various groups in a political system, therefore, strengthens smaller parties as they have better opportunities to be in government, grow and also represent their constituencies,” he said.

He noted that out of the 27 registered political parties in the country, 25 of them, representing 95 per cent, were considered smaller parties but they had no seat in Parliament which was not a true representation of the country’s multi party democratic dispensation.

Mergers

Mr Jonah also encouraged the smaller parties to merge or create partnerships, especially if they had similar ideology, rather than becoming pawns for the bigger parties.

“If you claim that you belong to the same ideology then why can’t you merge and increase your capacity to compete than throwing your support behind a bigger party that does not share in your ideology,” he queried

The smaller parties, he said, must also reorganise its party structures to ensure that they were effective and also learned from the bigger parties.

Level playing field

The General Secretary of the All Peoples Congress (APC), Mr Mordecai Thiombiano, in a separate interview with the Daily Graphic said voters must be bold and willing to shift from the practice of vote selling or buying as a means to strengthen the smaller ones to bring diversity in the country’s political system.

“Not until we begin to look at issues on how we can build a strong nation collectively, we will continue to be where we are as a nation,” he stated.