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10.09.2004 General News

Voters admit being influenced by money - CDD

By GNA

Accra, Sept. 10, GNA - A survey conducted by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has revealed that 12 per cent of voters admitted being offered money, or anything in kind, to vote for a political party.

The survey established that about 80 per cent of the number who admitted having received an incentive to vote said it influenced their voting behaviour, Dr Baffour Agyeman-Duah, Associate Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, stated in Accra at a media briefing on the outcome of the survey on Thursday.

The objectives of the survey conducted between May 20 and 28, 2004 were to promote good governance, strengthen the democratic political system and build a national consensus as to the best approaches to financing political parties in Ghana.

The survey also sought to raise awareness, generate debate and identify the challenges and offer solutions to the issue of political party financing. It further sought to assist the political parties to be able to function effectively and competitively on an equal and equitable basis.

Dr Agyeman-Duah said typical of a survey of this kind, far fewer residents admitted to any direct encounters with corruption. Indeed, 84 percent denied having encountered such an offer. Some 31 per cent of respondents to the survey said that they would take a hypothetical cash or in-kind offer to vote for a particular candidate or party.

Dr Agyeman-Duah said the revelation indicated the vulnerability of voters to the influence of vote buying politicians. He said the survey raised serious concern about the sustainability of multiparty democracy in Ghana in view of the high number of respondents who voted on financial enticement.

Dr Agyeman-Duah explained there are currently a number of misconceptions among the public about the role and functions of political parties, and how parties should operate and survive financially.

He therefore, called for intensive public education about the roles and functions of political parties, including the need for competitive and viable political parties to ensure a democratic political system. Dr Agyeman-Duah said constitutionally, political parties were expected to play an important role in the democracy and good governance process. Parties must be regarded like other democratic institutions that are funded by the state.

On state funding of political parties, the survey established that there was high recognition that parties would perform more effectively if they were well resourced, but respondents rejected state funding. He said the public cited personal funding by party leaderships as their preferred source of funding the parties.

This expectation, according to CDD-Ghana, was disturbing because it encouraged political corruption and control of parties by the rich. The survey was conducted by CDD-Ghana in collaboration with National Democratic Institute, a US-based non-governmental organisation as part of the African Political Party Finance Initiative. Two parallel surveys, the elite and the mass were conducted to seek opinions on political party finance. The elite survey interviewed 90 respondents, including party executives at the national, regional and constituency levels.

The household survey targeted a nationwide randomly selected sample of 600 respondents aged 18 years and above. The margin of error was five per cent. 10 Sept. 04

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