30.07.2006 Politics

Top EC official argues for state funding of political parties

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A senior official of the Electoral Commission (EC) on Friday argued for state funding of political parties saying this would give the Commission effective supervision of the parties. "Extending state funding to the political parties would enable the Commission to effectively supervise activities of the political parties as required by law," Mr Kwadwo Safo-Kantanka, EC Deputy Chairman in-charge of Operations, said.

Mr Safo-Kantanka was speaking on "The EC's Oversight Over Political Parties; The Achievements and Challenges," at the on-going West African sub-regional discourse on consolidating multi-party democracy in Accra.

He said EC's scrutiny of accounts submitted by the political parties, revealed that most of the financial statements submitted did not reflect the actual expenditure of the parties.

Mr Safo-Kantanka said violation of the law by some political parties in relation to submission of audited accounts "is more of inability rather than unwillingness to comply with the regulations."

The Political Parties Law (Act 574, section 14 '2') stipulates: "For sound financial management and accountability of political party operations, the law requires that a political party shall within six months from December 31st of each year file with the EC a return indicating the state of its accounts, the source of its funds and membership dues paid.

"Without prejudice to any other penalty prescribed by Act 574 or any other Accra: Ceremony to mark Emancipation Day enactment, where a political party refuses or neglects to comply with the provision or submits a declaration that is false in any material, the Commission may cancel its registration".

EC's records indicate that with the exception of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) the rest failed to meet the June 30 deadline for the submission of their audited account for 2005.

The affected parties are the Convention People's Party (CPP), People's National Convention (PNC) and the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP).

The others are, EGLE Party, Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), United Ghana Movement (UGM), Ghana Democratic Republican Party (GDRP) and the National Reform Party (NRP).

Speaking on "Improving the Quality of Multi-Party Democracy in West Africa", Mr Joao Bernard da Rocha, former NPP Chairman acknowledged the vulnerability of multi-party democracy in West Africa and called for the development and establishment of democratic institutions and traditions for consolidation of multi-party political dispensation within the sub-region.

Mr da Rocha, who is a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), said a national constitution must recognize, endorse and ensure that the fundamental human rights of citizens were protected.

He said roles of the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, political leadership; civil society, civic education and the media were effectively operational.

Delegates from Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, The Gambia, Benin and Togo are attending the two-day conference being organized under the auspices of the West African Regional Programme of Political Parties.

Ghana's Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Netherlands Institute for Multi-Party Democracy (NIMD) are jointly hosting the conference.

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