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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Politicians will recoup investments until we regulate party funding – Prof. Asare

A US-based lawyer, Kwaku Asare, has advocated for the capping of financial contributions individuals and businesses can make to political campaigns.

“Currently, I do believe our leaders spend too much on seeking power,” he said on Citi TV’s Point of View.

This means some politicians spend their time in office trying to recoup investments, Prof. Asare noted.

“When they get into office, there is a natural temptation and tendency to recover whatever they invested in their elections.”

He said this would continue unless a stricter law is put in place to monitor political party financing.

“Unless we change that; unless we figure out a way to cap spending to have an idea of who is contributing to which party, we are going to keep electing people but they cannot get the job done because too many people have invested in them and they feel obliged to serve those who have financed them rather than serving the party.”

‘Opulence’ at NPP conference

Prof Asare’s comments follow the New Patriotic Party’s National Delegate’s conference, which has been noted as emblematic of issues having to do with political party financing.

Ahead of the conference, the newly elected NPP chairman, Freddie Blay was criticized for personally procuring some 275 buses for all NPP constituency offices across the country.

Civil society organizations and his closest contender, Stephen Ntim, described it as vote-buying.

According to reports, Mr. Blay as a guarantor paid $3 million, which constitutes 30 percent of the total cost of 11.4 million dollars and has taken delivery of the first 100 minibuses.

At the conference, a representative of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, John Hayward, questioned the use of numerous campaign posters of NPP executive aspirants, describing it as a waste of resources.

Blame aspirants, not the party

The Minister of Information, Mustapha Hamid dismissed claims the perceived opulence was a reflection of the governing NPP.

He said the posters had to do with the over 40 aspirants who contested the various positions.

‘’Election is psychological warfare; somebody says Politics is a war without warfare. Therefore, you ought to at any point in time be seen to inflict as much psychological trauma to your opponents as possible. And the way to inflict Psychological trauma on your opponent is to show that you have every place covered and the way they do that is to populate the place with posters, banners, leaflets, and so on.”

Monetization of politics breeding ‘political godfathers’ – CDD

A Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD), Dr. Kojo Asante, has also expressed fear that the worsening monetization of Ghana’s politics will breed ‘godfathers’ who will directly or indirectly govern the country because they can afford to induce voters or sponsor other politicians to gain power with money.

Speaking on Citi TV’s Point of View hosted by Bernard Avle on Monday, Dr. Asante said the phenomenon was deepening because it has been left to fester for more than a decade.

He said the practice further deepens corruption in Ghana’s politics, and could destroy’s the country’s democratic gains if not checked.

“This thing [monetization] is not sustainable. The number of candidates who stood for the 2016 elections is almost a 1,000 but only 275 got elected. If they are all spending this amount of money, taking loans and personal savings and so on, at every election if you add of those monies together, there is a lot of people taking a huge risk and fall into debt. So we increasingly are monetizing the politics. Citizens are feeding into it, politicians are responding to that demand and it is escalating every year,” he said.

It cost an MP $86,000 to get party nomination

A research, conducted by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), in February 2018, revealed that at least it will cost a Member of Parliament US$86,000 to secure a party’s primary nomination to compete in parliamentary elections in the country.

The cost of running for political office in Ghana went up by nearly 60 percent over one single electoral cycle – between 2012 and 2016., the study noted.

According to the report, if the cost of politics rises to unaffordable levels the danger is that politics becomes the domain of the elite and wealthy, and that the motivates and incentivizes MPs to move from serving the public to recovering their own investment.

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