Professor Henry Kwesi Prempeh, the Executive Director of Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has encouraged citizens and the state to demand accountability from political parties on their campaign expenditure to deepen democratic process and stability in the country. He said Politicians spent huge sums on their campaigns during general elections and said the practice was crucial and had serious implications in strengthening Ghana’s democracy. Prof Prempeh said this during National dialogue on political party campaign finance reforms in Ghana, organised by CDD-Ghana in collaboration with Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) in Tamale. The event funded by STAR Ghana Foundation was to foster dialogue among stakeholders on the important issues related to campaign finance and cost of elections borne by political parties and to engage citizens and relevant actors in confronting the challenge.
According to him, where and how campaign funds were raised and spent by political parties could influence Ghana’s intra-party activities, national political votes, and influence on both economic and development choices and policies beyond elections. Prof Prempeh noted that it was time for citizens to question Politicians on how their campaign finance were generated to enhance the response against corruption and end the rising tension of violence in the conduct of general elections in the country. “Beyond the general recognition of corruption as a manifestation of Campaign financing arrangements, there is a need to equally interrogate the more fundamental systemic and socio-cultural conditions that make our democracy susceptible to the growing influence of money”. He added
According to him, uncontrolled political fund-raising and spending in the country during general elections basically undermined citizen’s trust in both the political process and their government, and would have to be examined. Alhaji Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, the Executive Director of STAR Ghana Foundation urged stakeholders to come on board to address the current challenges involved in financing campaigns of political parties and said the practice affected the socio-cultural values and systems in the country.
He said it was important for voters to know the sources of funds a politician or parties used for their campaigns and indicated that it would help the citizens appreciate better, the agenda which candidates or parties were likely to pursue and would inform voters in their choice of suitable candidates as their leaders. Alhaji Abdul-Razak Saani, Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), urged members of the public to insist on accountability, transparency and access to political financial information from political parties and politicians to reduce corruption in the electoral system.
Some of the political parties suggested fairness in the use of state resources by all registered political parties and argued that fair access to state resources was a constitutional and legal provision on financing politics in Ghana. According to the parties, legal and governance practitioners should relook out for a number of shortfalls that must be addressed to make these provisions more meaningful, including; weak and ambiguous provisions that make it possible for actors to avoid compliance. They stated that all political party manifestoes should be in line with a national development plan through national development policy to promote effective and balanced development in the country.