The Political Parties Act stipulates that every political party must have offices across the country. This is a must, according to Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC).
Hence, under the Political Parties Act, sub-section 15. 1, it says “within ninety days after the issue to it of a final certificate of registration, a political party shall furnish the Commission with details of the existence and location of its national, regional, district and Constituency offices.
2- A political party shall also within the period specified in subsection (1) submit to the commission,
- the names ,titles and addresses of its officers at the national ,regional, district and constituency level and also such other level of organization as the Commission may direct and
- The name and address of the auditor of the political party.
3- Where a political party.
- refuses or neglects to comply with this section; or
- makes a statement in a matter submitted to the Commission under this section which is false.
- has refused, neglected or failed to establish or maintain a national office or to establish or maintain a regional office in every region the Commission may cancel the registration of that political party”.
The aforementioned are known to almost every political party in the country but I am not sure they are adhering to them.
The law did not say the parties should establish these offices and leave them empty all day. Parties are run by people and so these offices must be active 24/7, especially in an election year like 2016.
Everyone will agree with me that if a company refuses to open its office or open the office but do not have people to run it; we can automatically conclude that the company is defunct. In the same way, if a political party opens its office, being ward, area, constituency, regional or national and there is no person who will man the affairs of the party or even receive visitors or letters, we can equally conclude that the party is defunct.
My Programmes Manager [Onua 95.1FM], Kwame Karikari and I were shock, disappointed, surprised and above all, demoralized at what we witnessed during our visit to the National Headquarters of one of the oldest political parties in the country which came out of the Nkrumaist, the People’s National Convention (PNC).
Let me state here that most of the political parties in the country who hurriedly stormed the EC office last week Thursday and Friday to file their presidential nominations forms are in the similar state as the PNC. Parties such as United Progressive Party (UPP) led by Akwasi Addai ‘Odike, the United Freedom Party (UFP), led by Nana Agyenim Boateng, aka Gyataba, the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) led by Madam Akua Donkor , the Reform Patriotic Democrats (RPD) led by Kwabena Adjei, the Unity Development System Party (UDSP) led by WO1 Richard Nixon Tetteh , the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) led by Thomas Ward Brew, just to mention few, are all in the same state. They exist in the books and the minds of EC and Ghanaians and not in reality.
Let me remind these parties of the Political Party’s Act of Ghana concerning the provision of particulars of national, head or regional, district and constituency offices and officers.
- 1- “Within ninety days after the issue to it of a final certificate of registration, a political party shall furnish the Commission with details of the existence and location of its national, regional, district and Constituency offices”.
As one of the leading local radio stations in Accra, Onua FM decided to extend formal invitation to almost all the political parties in the country and its members for a regular studio interviews.
Management therefore wrote formal letters to be distributed to these political parties in their various offices. As the producer at the station, I was asked to do the distribution with the programmes Manager.
It was on Wednesday 21st September and we set off for the day’s distribution. We first visited two places and finally got to the headquarters of the PNC at Agbavana Junction in Kotobabi around 11am on the said date and day.
Folks, it is here that we discovered that the PNC only existed on EC’s papers and in the minds of Ghanaians but in reality, the “PNC is Dying” and it applies to all the parties enumerated above.
Jesus Christ! Folks, what we witnessed at the Headquarters of a political party that wants to rule the people of our dear nation Ghana was abysmal, disgraceful, and unpardonable.
We climbed the staircase to where the offices are located and to our surprise; we found out that there was no one in the office as at that time in an election year. Does this show seriousness? The main entrance to the office had been opened but none of the offices was opened.
We then entered and started knocking. Knocking please. Knocking please. Helloo. Helloo. Is anybody here. Is anybody here. Agoo. Kokoooko. Agoo. Kokoooko. Folks, none of these shouting and knockings will prompt a response so we decided to enter into the main hall of the office. We saw a very big table and few plastic chairs around the table. The place looked dilapidated. The ground was dirty.
It was as if they have not swept the place for a decade. Empty plastic water bottles had scattered all over.
The volume of dirt on door handles was telling enough that the doors have not been opened for decades.
Cobwebs’ could be seen in almost every corner of the office.
We stood there for about five minutes thinking someone will come and attend to us but not even a security man or a messenger came out to receive us. We had no option than to return with those letters.
While we set out of the office, something prompted us to approach a pharmacist under the same building with of the PNC to enquire whether he had seen anyone in the office and to our surprise, the man said, no. He even told us he has been advising them to employ someone to be there especially, in the election year but the party had failed to heed his advice.
So we asked, has it always been like this and the man said yes and “I have been receiving their letters on their behalf even though I am not a PNC man”, the man told us.
So we ask, whether we can also leave our letters with him to be given to them and the man received them and said “provided they will even come here anytime soon”.
Folks, is this a party that wants to rule Ghana?
Think folks, because like the adage in Akan “Aboa biara eepro a ohye ase feree ne te”, to wit, every animal decays from the head. So if the national headquarters of the PNC is in this dilapidated state, your guess is good as mine when we visit the regions and constituencies.
PNC must sit up and do their home work effectively. They must package themselves well to attract votes because their current state is not attractive. Ghanaians would not want Ghana to be a two-party state. We need a third force that can be considered an alternative to the NPP and the NDC so the PNC must up their games.
On this note, the Electoral Commission seems not to be adhering to the Political Party’s Act. If they had, they would have close several political parties.
The EC must sit up and clear all these parties that exist in their books and not in reality. EC must start biting because it has been a toothless bull-dog for long.
By Kweku Antwi-Otoo
The writer is a producer with Onua 95.1FM, Accra.