A Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast, Dr. Kwame Osei Kwarteng, has appealed to the Electoral Commission (EC) to impress on all political parties to publish their annual audited accounts.
He said it was a constitutional requirement for political parties to annually publish their accounts, a mandate the EC must enforce but had woefully failed to achieve so far.
Dr. Kwarteng said this at the 11th Annual Constitutional Week Round Table discussion in Cape Coast on the theme “The state of Ghana’s democracy with emphasis on political parties”, that attracted civil society organizations, representatives of the various political parties, public and civil servants and religious bodies.
It was organized by the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to examine the 18 years of Ghana’s democratic system in order to find out its strengths and weaknesses and to suggest ways to further strengthen the process.
He said if the accounts were published, there would be transparency and the recent debate on drug monies being used to fund political parties would not have been an issue as the sources of funding would be made public for all to know.
Dr Kwarteng said political parties had contributed to the democratic dispensation but faced challenges that had impacted negatively on society, notably he their indiscipline youth and foot soldiers.
Dr Kwarteng said the issue of politics tilting along tribal lines was of great concern and must be examined critically while financial constraints of political parties, particularly in opposition, was another challenge worth mentioning.
Mr Peter Kojo Grant, a Senior Lecturer, expressed concern that Members of Parliament were acting as agents of their political parties, pushing party agenda to the detriment of their constituents.
He said once elected, an MP is for his constituency and the issue of tagging them with political parties must stop if they are to seek the interest of the people who elected them to power and pursue the development of their constituencies.
Mr Grant identified lack of internal democracy as the cause of the upsurge of independent candidates in recent times and that it had increased to 212 compared to 110 during the last elections.
He said there was the need for the relevant organizations like the NCCE, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and the EC to as a matter of urgency carry out rigorous political education for the electorates before the 2012 general elections.
This is because the current political temperature had risen to a crescendo and that the government must adequately resource these institutions to carry out the task ahead of them with dispatch to quell any unforeseen chaos.
On state funding of political parties, he said until they sanitize the “business of doing politics” in the country, the state must not dare to fund political parties because it would among others encourage the influx of mushroom political parties who would take the funds and vanish into oblivion.
Mrs Augustina Akosua Akumaniing, Director of NCCE, appealed to the government to ensure that it provided all the basic necessities of life for its people to foster peace since that constitute good governance.
The Anglican Bishop of Cape Coast, Right Rev. Daniel Sylvanus Allotey, said it was important for politically elected leaders to be for all Ghanaians and not the parties they belong to facilitate unity at all times.