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04.11.2004 General News

Abuse of incumbency is bane of Ghana's democracy

By GNA

Accra, Nov. 4, GNA - The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) on Thursday cited abuse of incumbency as a major challenge plaguing the country's democratic development and called for measures to curb it.

"Persistent and often credible allegations of corruption among public officials and the abuse of public office for partisan electoral purposes represent a major threat to the sustenance of multi-party democracy in Ghana," Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director, stated in Accra.

Presenting the first of a series of CDD-Ghana monitoring reports on the political landscape titled: "Abuse of Incumbency, State Administrative Resources, and Political Corruption in Election 2004", Prof Gyimah-Boadi called for corrective measures to eliminate the over-exploitation of incumbency advantages to advance democracy. The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) of the United Kingdom funded the report covering September 18 to September 30 2004. It focuses on the abuses of administrative and state media resources, as well as budgetary allocation.

Prof Gyimah-Boadi urged the Government, Parliaments, Electoral Commission, Public Agencies, Civil Society and Political Parties to initiate the necessary measures to ratify abuse of incumbency to ensure a level electoral playing field.

"Fair elections are not only good for members of the opposition parties but for democracy in Ghana at large," the CDD-Ghana Executive Director emphasised.

The CDD-Ghana also called for the enactment of a credible code of conduct to guide elected and other public officials and substantial improvement in the Ghanaian electioneering and administrative laws. The Report, Prof. Gyimah-Boadi said was not an attempt to compare the nature and extent of abuses in the Elections 2004 with previous elections.

It rather highlighted ongoing problems, deficiencies and ambiguities in the use of state administrative resources and over-exploitation of incumbency.

The monitoring covered 12 constituencies in the Ashanti Region, nine in the Greater Accra, and four each in the Western, Northern and Upper East Regions.

The rest were: Three each in the Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions and two each in Upper West, Central and Eastern Regions as well as four state media houses -Ghana Television, GBC Radio, Daily Graphic and Ghanaian Times.

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