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Politics of Monday, 25 April 2016

Source: Public Agenda

Mass funding of parties will make bankrollers history - Lecturer

A university don has lauded the novelty which the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has introduced in mobilising funds to finance its party, particularly its 2016 presidential campaign, saying that it would, among other things, neutralise the undue influence wielded by 'Political Entrepreneurs' a.k.a bankrollers in parties in Ghana.

Dr. Kobby Mensah, a lecturer at the Ghana Business School (UGBS), Legon, who made the prediction, notes that over the years, some key political figures have bankrolled their respective parties, a practice they consider as a business investment. Thus, if the party assumes the reins of power, these 'Political Entrepreneurs' tend to hold the political administration to ransom by calling the shots through the making of all manner of demands, including appointments and contracts, on the president.

The solution to this illegitimate power of political entrepreneurs, Dr. Mensah submits, is for ordinary Ghanaians to contribute to the coffers of the parties if they believe in their philosophy and agenda. “If these things (political entrepreneurs and their power) are to be avoided, then ordinary Ghanaians have to contribute to the parties if they believe in their agenda,” he proposes.

He observes, “Political parties are becoming very innovative and campaigning is one of them, and I highly commend the NPP for such a giant step and recommend it to the other political parties.”

But going forward, he says ordinary Ghanaians must take over the running of political parties and for that matter the custody of the wealth of this country through such funding arrangements.

Dr. Mensah, who is also a Political Marketing Expert, calls on the political parties to extend their innovativeness to the crafting and developing of policies by engaging not only the activists of the party but the broad masses as well. He observes that although the majority of the young are upwardly mobile, they are less engaged by the political parties.

To him, a channel that comes in readily to engage the youth on policy development is the social media, which he describes as “sustainably cheap” to employ. The youth, he further notes, forms a wider and significant part of society; hence, their inputs into policies cannot be discounted. According to him, the views of the youth are generally picked by the traditional media—radio and television—and which are ultimately diffused in the larger society.

President John Mahama and Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom earned the praise of Dr. Mensah for their effective use of Twitter and Facebook respectively. He stresses that through social media, the two personalities are able to connect with the youth easily.

Dr. Mensah, nonetheless, admits that there is a difficulty with the use of social media and that has to do with when something negative is disseminated. He says while it is easier to identify the source of such an aberration and effecting the necessary correction on the traditional media, it is very difficult to do same with the social media.

He accordingly advised the political parties to devise a means for controlling the use of the social media as a tool for engaging the youth.

The NPP recently launched its 2016 fundraising campaign, with a call on every single supporter and sympathiser of the party to donate generously to the party to prosecute its agenda for a change of government through the ballot box.

The fundraising campaign targets every single Ghanaian who is depressed and dejected at what the party calls “the sorry state in which our country is.”

Launching the campaign, the 2016 presidential candidate of the party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, declared: “Ghana today is in crisis. Agriculture, once upon a time the bedrock of our development, is a pale shadow of its former self. Manufacturing is at very low ebb. Corruption is at its height. Our economy is in tatters. Inflation is high. Taxes are rising. Businesses, both big and small, are struggling, and millions of young men and women are without work.”

He also said incompetence was the hallmark of the Mahama administration while government appointments were not based on merit but considerations which were not only puzzling but also bizarre. The launch of the four various e-platforms of funding was to offer Ghanaians the opportunity to donate generously and contribute effectively to the NPP's cause.

Need for change

According to Nana Akufo-Addo, there was the need for change in the way the country was governed, insisting on a change that would make way for a competent, honest, hard-working, well-qualified team to take over the affairs of the country and steer them in the direction of prosperity for all, instead of the current state of affairs which dwelt on prosperity for the friends and family of the people in power.

“What excites me is that in spite of all the difficulties, the Ghanaian people have hope. They have hope for a brighter future. They have hope because they believe change is coming. They believe change is coming because all over the country, Ghanaians from all walks of life, whether NPP or not, are all doing their bit to make this change happen this November,” he stated.

People support campaign

Nana Akufo-Addo indicated that people were supporting the campaign with cash donations, both big and small, saying there were many people who woke up at dawn every day simply to pray for the NPP campaign and its success.

“There are also people who, without prompting from the campaign team, are engaging in door-to-door campaigns and educating people on why and how Mahama's incompetent governance is setting us and our country back and why a vote on November 7 for me and the NPP, based on its solid track record under President J.A. Kufuor, will mean a vote for a better-managed economy, a revamped agricultural sector, the revival of our manufacturing sector, a revived NHIS, an accessible, quality educational system and a vibrant private sector which drives the economy and by so doing creates employment for Ghana's youth,” he stated.

He said it was not only in Ghana that he met people eager to support the 2016 NPP campaign with their money.

Campaign Fundraising Team

Nana Akufo-Addo said the NPP Campaign Fundraising team had devised several means by which people could make a donation to the campaign.

He explained that people could contribute via special airtime top-up scratch cards, via SMS, via cluster platforms, via the 'I-am-for-Nana' mobile app which allowed donors, both in Ghana and abroad, to contribute using their Visa or MasterCard and allowed those in Ghana to donate also via mobile money.

'No amount is too small'

“No amount is too small. If 1,000 people donate one cedi every day till Election Day, the campaign will raise in excess of GHc200,000, a sum of money that will significantly support our efforts to ensure we get rid of the Mahama government, God willing, on November 7. And, I assure you, the money you contribute will be used for its true purpose,” he assured the party's supporters.

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