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29.03.2005 Gossips

NDC demos to cost C1 billion

By ADM
NDC demos to cost C1 billion
MAR 29, 2005 GOSSIPS

The sword cuts both ways. Last week, some of the front men of the NDC sponsored street demonstrations issued a statement in reaction to some of the issues raised at the Peoples Assembly in Accra.

The statement ended on an interesting note calling on the government not to use state finances to fund the proposed counter demonstrations against what the NDC is doing.

This patriotic sounding call has been well received, but has raised its own question: Who is funding the NDC demonstrations?

According to estimates from some pundits, by the time the so-called "wahala" marches are over, that is, if they cover all the 10 regional capitals as planned, the financier(s) of the demonstrations would have spent close to one billion cedis - a hefty amount for anyone suffering from "wahala".

The NDC leader, Mr. Jerry John Rawlings is regarded by many people as the main force behind the demonstrations and so would carry a heavier load of the cash burden for the wahala. Just before Election 2004, it was widely speculated that he had received a huge amount of money from abroad, which he pumped into the NDC election effort.

It was too late to spend all of it so he may yet have reserves, which he is pumping into the wahala he is creating for himself and Ghana. A political analyst who spoke to ADM over the weekend said, "If in the nineties, their chairman could lose three hundred million from his bed room, can you imagine the sums others have stashed away?"

Almost rhetorically, he added, "these people are very rich, they can afford to finance the demos to the tune of any amount, provided their objective of toppling the government would be achieved."

The question of who funds demonstrations also raises fundamental questions regarding political party funding in general. Some of the people at the forefront of the NDC demonstrations are also vocal in their support for state funding of political parties.

Indeed, a cross-parties consensus seems to have been built around the "necessity" of state funding of political parties. With the current lavish spending by the NDC on its wahala marches, there is definitely the need for a re-think of the whole idea.

A party as rich as the NDC with resources to fund endless political street marches cannot be said to be in need of state cash for its party activities.

It is now quite clear that any taxpayer funds that go into funding political parties would not be used to build party structures but could rather find their way into destabilising the state.

As the marches and counter marches progress, the Commissioner for Internal Revenue would have to look closely at the funds that go into many political activities, including demonstrations orchestrated by political parties.

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