The issue receiving much attention in the media space in Ghana currently is the referendum to be held in December. The referendum will give political parties the opportunity to participate in grassroots elections. The outcome of the referendum may allow political parties to sponsor candidates for elections at the grassroots or not. Therefore, the citizenry needs to be educated well on the effects of voting 'Yes' to allow political parties representation and sponsorship at the grassroots. The first of the many effects of the expected 'Yes' at the referendum is the likely deepening of monetisation of elections and politics in Ghana.
The possibility of people gaining control over political positions with the use of money in Ghana is growing each passing day. People continue to exploit others, procedures and systems in order to gain political power. There have been complaints about the extent and trend of monetization of electoral processes and politics in Ghana by many respected Ghanaians and statesmen.
The current levels of monetizing electoral processes and politics in Ghana is getting out of control and will soon get to unsustainable proportions with the new system that is likely to be introduced into our system. All parties are seen as culprits of this act. The use of money in elections and politics is repelling people from taking part in proper political discourse and participating in political activities. It emerged during the primaries of the major political parties that many of the candidates paid their ways through. Some of them were bold to mention the amount of money they used in an attempt to convince the delegates. It can be inferred from the happenings in the political space hat money currently plays a major role in the political game of Ghanaian politics. There have been actual reports of vote-buying in party and national elections.
People of the same party do not have natural playground for choosing their leaders. Naturally, leaders of political parties who lead such parties for national elections need to be chosen without votes being bought. The phenomenon of vote-buying is gaining much grounds in the body politic of Ghana. There is a huge inclination of this crashing the democracy of our Country. The fact is, the reports of vote-buying are not a myth but are real happenings within parties.
Vote-buying and campaign financing in Ghana will destroy the foundations laid to build the democracy of the country and to fight corruption. The democracy of the state has been corrupted with partisan national elections and the introduction of partisan elections at the grassroots will worsen this forbidden act that is cherished by many politicians who want to circumvent the right procedure and process. Campaign financiers will definitely look out for avenues to recoup their monies. The persons who buy votes in order to gain political positions will equally find a convenient means for refund of their money. There is a heinous illegality that is being perpetrated by all political parties. Candidates are supposed to transport, feed and give gifts to delegates. This comes at a cost which must be borne by these candidates.
Local government as the framers of the constitution thought it, should resonate with the people who must understand their settings (background) in order to initiate developmental projects and programmes to cause a change. For development to gain proper grounds and support from others, it must be endogenous. It must spring from the localities initiated by the people and not being imposed.
With the referendum, a Yes will allow the political parties a space to sponsor and participate in grassroots elections. This will come with primaries and campaigns which must be sponsored and paid for. The persistent complaints about vote-buying and campaign financing should be expected to get intensified. Intra-party vote-buying for prospective candidates will not cease anytime soon with this new system and there is no solution to curb it happening. There will be a lot of interested parties in the elections of MMDCEs from within a political party. In this sense, there must be procedures and processes to select the most qualified in the opinion of the party to lead it for such elections. There cannot be a natural way of doing these without primaries. Party elections will bring about vote-buying. There will be yet another group of people who would like to finance the campaigns of the potential candidates for the elections to the grassroots. The financiers of campaigns will aim at getting contracts as a reward of their efforts. This will not end at the doorstep of the MMDCEs to be elected but will be extended to Assembly members and unit committee members. Ghana is likely to tread on a slippery path if it adopts a partisan system of electing its MMDCEs finally. It is chancy to adopt this structure for the grassroots.
To completely help eradicate the system of vote-buying and campaign financing, there is the need for the citizenry to understand properly and deeply what a Yes at the referendum portends to us. A Yes at the referendum will worsen the system of polarity that is developed for our country found in every state agency presently. It will equally worsen the monetization of electoral processes and politics in Ghana which is forbidden in democratic cycles. The elections of MMDCEs can still be done without party colours, symbols and sponsorship.
The choice for the referendum must be a NO to save the state and its people from the consequences of monetization of electoral processes and politics. Monetization and democracy are adverse to each other. Let’s redraw a new paradigm for our political thinking and practice.
BY Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey
Economics Tutor- Kintampo SHS.
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."