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Majority Leader says it costs $86,000 to secure a party’s primary nomination

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Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader in Parliament, has called for a reform in political parties’ structure to ameliorate the incidence of monetization in the country’s electoral discourse, indicating that it costs $86,000 to secure a party’s primary nomination for parliament.

He said the growing trend of monetization of politics had become a monumental threat to the country’s huge democratic gains.

“Ghana has been considered the beacon of democracy in Africa, an accolade that is largely due to the country’s ability to organise successive free, fair and transparent elections for over two decades,” he said, adding that those gains must be protected.

The Majority Leader said this on Tuesday at a forum on the topic: “De-Monetizing Electoral Politics, Strengthening Accountable Governance: Which Way Forward for Ghana,” organised by the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG).

Mr Mensah-Bonsu, Member of Parliament for Suame and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, noted that the overload of elections in the political parties’ structure bred corruption as the party had to pay for every service rendered while individuals would want to do everything possible to recoup monies spent during campaigns.

He said the selection of party executives must involve all card bearing members and not limited to a few, which most often resulted in influencing delegates and leading to corrupt activities.

The Majority Leader noted that some members of parliament did not understand the philosophy of their political parties and only aligned themselves with strongholds of the parties, which must be discouraged.

Mr Mensah-Bonsu described the system as “political convenience… and we must not encourage this in the country’s political practice.
Mr Alban Bagbin, the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, said the situation called for national dialogue for a lasting solution.

He stated that the issue of monetization in politics started from 1996 elections and if care was not taken the situation could be worse in the coming elections.

“The situation was different in 1992 when I was contesting to be an MP, it was the constituents who supported my campaign expenses, but the system changed after 1992 elections”.

Ms Brigitte Dzogbenuku, the Flagbearer of the Progressive People’s Party, called on the government to resource the National Commission for Civic Education to educate the electorate on election issues and the effects of monetization in politics.

She charged the electorate not to allow politicians to decide for them by influencing them with juicy gifts and money.

The Westminster Foundation and the Center for Democratic Development, in a research, said: “It will cost an MP $86,000 to secure a Party’s primary nomination to compete in a parliamentary election in the country.”

The report said the cost of running for a political office in Ghana went up by nearly 60 per cent over one electoral cycle between 2012 and 2016.

The Westminster Foundation and the Centre for Democratic Development, in a research, said: “It will cost an MP $86,000 to secure a Party’s primary nomination to compete in a parliamentary election in the country’’.

The report said the cost of running for a political office in Ghana went up by nearly 60 per cent over one electoral cycle between 2012 and 2016.

Source: GNA

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