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Politics of Wednesday, 15 June 2016


Amoako Baah kicks against state funding of political parties

Discussions on state funding for political parties in Ghana should not be countenanced at this time of the year, although the country is fast approaching the November 7 presidential and parliamentary elections, a political scientist, Dr Richard Amoako Baah, has opined.

According to him, there are more pressing issues – particularly health and educational challenges – that need immediate attention of the state.

His comments follow claims by the National Chairman of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Nii Allotey Brew-Hammond that unlike the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that are relying on individuals and institutions they gave contracts to in order to survive, the other smaller political parties are struggling to raise funds to spearhead election-related activities ahead of the November 7 polls, a situation which raises discussions on state funding for political parties in Ghana.

Mr Hammond told Emefa Apawu on Class FM’s 505 News Tuesday June 14: “It is very difficult, there are no two ways about it. We [PPP] have a lot of demand coming from many of our disadvantaged members who want to support the party and are not able to do what they can because we have not been able to raise enough [money] to give to them. I get a call from the Sampa chairman (in the Brong Ahafo Region), almost every day [that] he needs a vehicle.

“…The NPP and the NDC have been in government, they have been able to rely on those that they have given contracts and things like that to fund their activities, but we will still want to find out how they are raising funds because that is what is required [by] the Political Parties’ Law.”

But also speaking with Emefa Apawu on the same programme, Dr Amoako Baah recognised that: “It is a political season and election is coming up but it’s not the right time for us to be talking about money for political parties when we don’t have money for schools and hospitals.

“Those are more important than political parties’ activities, but it is a good thing to plan. It is not a simple matter of giving money to every political party, there has to be some qualification; for example, if you win a certain number of votes then you qualify to get it,” he said.

He explained that when there is a clear-cut criteria in the event that parties are going to be funded, it will serve as a disincentive for several opportunists who form political parties for their parochial interests.

“…When you do that it will prevent charlatans from forming their own parties just to make noise and support somebody else. Right now in Ghana we have too many little front parties and it is not appropriate when we allow all those things to go on, it diminishes the integrity of our electoral process …because somebody is in the game just to support somebody else,” he said.

“That is not how it is supposed to be. So there should be some sort of qualification.”