The Director of Electoral Services at the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Serebour Quaicoe, has said the decision by the commission to enforce the political parties’ law is not to ‘witch-hunt’ but to ensure compliance.
“After tolerating the political parties for over 30 years now, I think those who want to grow must mature now that is why we are applying the law,” he said.
He said Ghana had practised multi-party democracy for the past 30 years and, therefore, all political parties must meet the conditions under the law to make them functional.
Dr Quaicoe was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic following the revocation of the registration certificates of 17 political parties that had no national and regional offices as required by the law.
A notice signed and issued by the Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa and published yesterday, (Monday, November 14,2022) stated that "Pursuant to the publication by the Electoral Commission dated October 13 and 17, 2022, the General Public is hereby informed that the Registration Certificates of the under-listed Political Parties have been cancelled in accordance with Section 15 (3) (c) of the Political Parties Law, 2000 (Act 574) effective the 1st day of November, 2022
"The commission has therefore struck out the names or the above-mentioned entities from the list of Political Parties in Ghana," the statement added.
The EC in a notice put out in early October, this year gave the 17 political parties up to October 20, 2022 to show proof why their registration should not be cancelled under the Political Parties Act of 2000, Act 574.
According to the EC, the listed 17 political parties after a nationwide inspection by the commission were found not to have offices at the national and regional levels as required by Section 15 (1) (Act 574).
This is to ensure compliance with Section 22 (1) of the Political Parties Act, 2000 (Act 574). The exercise was conducted by the EC from May 16 to June 29, 2022.
The 17 listed parties are Democratic People's Party, United Front Party, United Development System Party, Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere, Yes People's Party, United Ghana Movement, Democratic Freedom Party, New Vision Party and Ghana Democratic Republican Party.
The rest are Ghana National Party, Power Unity Party, United Progressive Party, Reform Patriotic Democrats, People's Action Party, United Renaissance Party, National Reform Party and United Love Party.
Asked why the EC had failed to crack the whip all this while, Dr Quaicoe said it was the policy of a former Chairman of the commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari- Gyan, that the political parties must be given room to grow but after 30 years of practising multi-party democracy “we have grown and the laws must apply”.
“A situation, in which a political party has refused, neglected or failed to establish or maintain a national office and regional office in every region, the EC may cancel the registration of that political party,” he said.
“The law says that every political party shall elect persons as it may be determined by the party, elections of national, regional and constituency officers shall be conducted by the supervision of the EC and some of them since they came have not conducted any elections so if such parties’ registrations are being cancelled, it is not about witch- hunting,” Dr Quaicoe stated.