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State must fund political parties: 2 stalwarts advocate

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman & Joshua Koomson
Dr Emmanuel O. Akwetey (right), Executive Director, Institute for Democratic Governance, in an interaction with Johnson Asiedu Nketiah (left), General Secretary of the NDC, after the event. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY
Dr Emmanuel O. Akwetey (right), Executive Director, Institute for Democratic Governance, in an interaction with Johnson Asiedu Nketiah (left), General Secretary of the NDC, after the event. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY

Two political stalwarts have thrown their weight behind the call for the state to fund political parties to build a sustainable and vibrant democracy in Ghana.

The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, and former Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister, Akwasi Osei-Adjei of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), said it was only when state-funded political parties and candidates that Ghanaians could boldly hold parties and politicians accountable for their stewardship and curb corruption.

Aside from that, they said state funding would also cure the ills of few wealthy financiers hijacking parties and coming out with policies that responded to their needs and not that of the marginalised.

The two, who were responding to a question of how political parties could ensure that young people were not marginalised, made the call during a round-table discussion on “Sustaining democracy in the context of erosion: Lessons from Europe and Africa” in Accra last Friday.

The event, moderated by the Deputy Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Kathleen Addy, was jointly organised by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) and the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).

Accountability

Mr Nketiah said no country could assume that political parties were important building blocks of democracy and yet “close your mind as to how they get funding”.

He, therefore, proposed the enactment of appropriate legislation to govern the funding of political parties and candidates so that “we will then be able to hold people accountable.”

“When we take control over how political parties and candidates are funded, then we will begin to have a democracy that will have a buy-in of the marginalised groups; otherwise we are approaching a situation where democracy will be there in form but it has in effect been hijacked,” he said.

Bonafide property

Proposing state funding political parties, Mr Osei-Adjei, a former MP for Ejisu-Juaben, admitted that state funding of political parties would make the parties the “bona fide property of all instead of one or two rich people hijacking the political system to their advantage”.

“So, we have to sit down and see if we can fund political parties; as a multiparty democracy, we must encourage all political parties,” he said.

Expressing worry over the dominant winner-takes-all democracy in Ghana, Mr Osei-Adjei opined that before the introduction of democracy in Ghana, there was already a democratic system being practised in Ghana championed by chiefs.

To ensure the inclusion of traditional authorities in a democracy, Mr Osei-Adjei suggested the establishment of a second chamber system composed of chiefs to serve as checks and balances and hold presidents more accountable to the people.