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20.03.2008 Politics

State funding of political parties More kick against itNGOs say it would make politicians relax and un-innovative

By Accra Mail
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The Network of Associations of Registered NGOs in Ghana has disapproved of the proposed Political Parties Fund, saying there should be more public debate to adopt a viable alternative.

Mr. Kofi Lucas, President of the Network speaking to newsmen on Wednesday in Accra said the state funding political parties would give room for politicians to relax, instead of being innovative and hardworking to win elections.

He said the idea lacked proper consultation from political party activists at the constituency and polling station levels.

Mr. Lucas recommended the setting up of a Democratic and Good Governance Fund instead, that would build the capacity of Unit Committees to enable them engage citizens in governance processes at the grassroots level.

“Creating a Governance Fund to support decentralisation will be more acceptable to Ghanaians and there will be no problem supporting the idea with the oil fund or the 2.5 percent tax base,” he added.

He said the National Communication Authority should make it a policy for all radio and television stations to allocate at least two hours free airtime to political parties.

According to Mr. Lucas, the airtime would provide political parties the equal platform to educate the public on their manifestoes and intended policies for the economy so as to enable the electorate make informed choices and decisions.

He said with a better media platform, political parties could sell their ideas to gain more membership who would then willingly support their campaigns financially if only the parties would be transparent and accountable enough. Earlier this month, Ghana's four parliamentary political parties and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) launched an initiative that would culminate in the state funding of political parties. . A Bill was prepared and submitted to parliament for the purpose. It has since met with much opposition. This latest disapproval from the influential network of registered NGOs only goes to add to the growing unease about the whole idea of state funding of political parties.


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