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22.10.2008 Politics

Multi-Party Democracy, A Preserve Of The Rich?

By Times Reporter -

PROFESSOR Kwame A. Ninsin of the Department of Political Science at the University of Ghana, says multi-party politics in Ghana has become an expensive business venture, which is “rapidly becoming the preserve of those who have money to invest in it.

“I dare say that Ghana's democracy is in danger of becoming a regime where money rules and the people obey,” Prof. Ninsin said when he presented a paper at a workshop on the political situation in Ghana with particular emphasis on the forthcoming general election.

Organised by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) on the theme 'Support to political parties in Sub-Sahara Africa, the three-day workshop brought together KAS' representatives from Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal and Germany to join their counterparts in Ghana to deliberate on how KAS can improve upon its support for  political parties towards the consolidation of democracy in Ghana.

Prof. Ninsin stated “the fierceness of the competition for power has turned democratic politics into a business venture where the wealthy thrives.”

He said recent events showed the choice of parliamentary and presidential candidates, especially of the major political parties, was greatly influenced by the amount of money a candidate could mobilise to influence the voters either directly or indirectly.

“Currently, the race towards the December 7 election has also been characterised by the shameless display of opulence by the leaders of the various political parties.

These trends suggest that Ghanaian politics is increasingly becoming a plutocracy in reality and democracy only in form”, he added.

Prof. Ninsin said “where government is by the wealthy, political organisations cease to become instruments for self-determination because society does not own or control them. Rather they become instruments for elite domination.

“Furthermore, political organisations cease to become instruments of social transformation or change: they are driven by the quest for power rather than a purposeful political programme that will change the life of the people”.

Klaus D. Loetzer, country representative of KAS, said the organisation will continue to   support Ghana to deepen its democracy and strengthen the capacities of institutions to play an effective role in governance.

Frank Spengler, Deputy Head of Department, International Cooperation of KAS, urged politicians not to indulge in tribal politics which he said “does not build a healthy political atmosphere.”

He urged the electorate to make informed choices and tolerate each others' views.