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General News of Friday, 4 November 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Ghana’s electoral system becoming turbulent - IDEG

The executive director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, has said that Ghana’s electoral system is increasingly becoming turbulent because many invisible hands are funding activities of political parties.

According to him, a lot of money was being channelled into politics and that winning election, especially presidential election, was crucial to those who invested in it.

“Meanwhile, regulatory institutions charged to find out where the parties get money to fund their campaigning and other activities have failed to enforce the law,” he added.

Dr Akwetey, who was speaking at the second edition of the Advancement Lecture Series organised by the Institutional Advancement Office of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), said the practice was a serious characteristic of the country’s political system which needed to be addressed.

The lecture was on the theme, "Towards credible 2016 election: the role of stakeholders in ensuring free, fair, transparent and violence-free election."

Abuse of incumbency

He said people accuse governments of abuse of incumbency and blatant spending of the taxpayer’s money, as well as heavily borrowing in election periods, but the opposition also spend a lot of money and no one knows where their money comes from.

His comment comes at the back of the Economic and Organised Crime Office’s (EOCO’s) recent invitation of the presidential aspirants of the All People's Congress (APC) and the Progressive People's Party (PPP).

It would be recalled that EOCO issued a letter to PPP's Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom requesting him to explain the source of the over GH¢1.7 million he used to pay filing fees at the Electoral Commission (EC) for himself and his party's parliamentary candidates.

The Presidential Candidate of the APC, Mr Hassan Ayariga, was also invited to answer questions on the sources of funding for his party in securing vehicles for his campaign.

Election overloads

Dr Akwetey said the political system was also characterised by “election overloads,” whereby unregulated political activities tended to make it difficult to define an election season or period.

He said the country’s political system operated on a four-year cycle, which did not allow political parties to implement policies that transformed lives systematically.

According to Dr Akwetey, there was what he described as “Paradox” in the electoral process because the peace and stability the country enjoyed did not translate into its elections, but was often characterised by fear of violence and stabilisation of democracy at every next election.