Democratic institutions to explore ways of setting parameters for political campaign

Participants at a forum organised for political parties in Accra on Thursday, charged democratic institutions to explore the possibility of setting parameters for electioneering in the country.

The participants included the academia, seasoned politicians, media practitioners, electoral officials, security experts, governance institutions, civil society organisations and some Members of Parliament (MP).

A participant noted that: “the all year long active campaign from elections to elections especially in the media is not healthy for the democratic evolution of the country.

“Political campaign must begin and end at a point after elections for sober reflection, governance and non-partisanship contributions to debates,” some of the participants noted at the forum organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on “The State of Ghana’s Democracy, 2011 – the Role of Political Parties”.

The forum, which forms part of the 11th Annual Constitution Week Celebration, also raised about 10 debatable issues for national reflections; “How do we as citizens ensure that political parties do not hold us to ransom after elections? Is E-Voting the Way out?

“Are Ghanaians benefiting from the fruits of democracy? Do political parties have any ideological foundation? MPs, are they representing their constituent or their political parties judging from the behaviour of some of them on the floor of Parliament?

“How do we as citizens ensure political accountability? Are Political Parties useful to Ghana’s multi-party democratic dispensation? How do we as citizens ensure that political parties do not over exploit the ethnic card? Should we blame political parties and their leaders for the problems of this country?

“Should political parties stop charging filling fees from their members who wants to contest for party positions and for Parliamentary seats? Should the state provide total funding of political parties or continue with the current partial funding? How to ensure that the State security system is not abused during electioneering period for political or individual advantage?

Setting the tone for the discussions, Professor Kofi Quasigah, Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, analysed the role of political parties in the democratic dispensation from the Constitutional perspective, the Directive Principles of State Policies and the Political Parties Laws.

He noted: “What do we expect from the political parties? How have they performed these roles? What do the political parties have in the democratic process?

Prof. Quasigah said the issues of political tolerance were non-negotiable tents of democracy – the political parties must either adhere to or back out.

Other speakers including Dr B. I. Korray of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department and Mr Farhan Laary Bimi, NCCE Chairman, called on political parties to wake up to their roles.

Representative of some political parties including the National Democratic Congress, New Patriotic Party, Convention People’s Party, People’s National Convention and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) out up stale defence for the political parties.

Source: GNA

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