Accra, March 16, GNA - The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on Wednesday urged its sister body, the Electoral Commission (EC), to sanction political parties that violate Act 574 in order to bring sanity into the democratic landscape.
The Political Parties Act 574 requires the parties to declare their assets and state the nature and details of their office facilities, date and mode of acquisition and also provide evidence of payment of salaries of permanent staff, as well as utility bills and other expenditures. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Mr Larry Bimi, Chairman of the NCCE, suggested that the EC should give all registered political parties a six-month ultimatum to streamline their activities to conform to the Act, or face the appropriate sanctions.
Mr Bimi, who was reacting to recent reports that many of the political parties had failed to comply with the requirements in Act 574, held that the EC could cancel the certificates of violators. "Without prejudice to any other penalty prescribed by the Act or any other enactment, where a political party refuses or neglects to comply with the provision or submits a declaration that is false in any material, the Commission (EC) may cancel its registration," he said. He described as regrettable the situation where political parties had been operating as "electoral machines".
"They spend billions of cedis in an election year to set the party machinery in motion only to slumber into oblivion after the polls." The NCCE Chairman urged civil society groups to challenge political parties who violate the law at the courts, saying, such actions would strengthen multi-party democracy and enforce the constitutional order. Mr Bimi urged party activists to always check whether the internal operations of their parties conform to Act 574 and question their leadership on it.
Sections of the Act state that "a political party shall submit to the Commission the names, titles and addresses of its officers at the national, regional, district and constituency levels and also at such other levels of organisation as the Commission may direct". It states that the Commission shall not register a political party unless the internal organisation of the party conforms to democratic principles and its actions and purposes are not contrary to, or inconsistent with the Constitution.
The Act says the party should have on its National Executive Committee one member from each region. It must have branches in all regions and should, in addition, organise in not less than two-thirds of the districts in each region.
There should be in each district, at least one founding member of the party who is ordinarily resident there or is a registered voter there, the Act states, among others.