Former President John Dramani Mahama has said that viable political parties play a strong role in promoting democracy and sustainable development in any country.
The parties, he said, perform key roles in the formation of the government, develop leaders at various levels, and serve as a watch dog for incumbent governments.
“This is why we cannot continue to ignore the healthy development of our political parties, given the fact that these also state political institutions,” he said while delivering an address on political party financing at the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) auditorium on Wednesday, March 22.
On government support for political funding, Mr Mahama stated that some have argued that the only funding that may be advanced to parties and cannot be concealed in secrecy is public funding.
This he said refers to government giving financial resources or indirect assistance to political parties.
“As mentioned, in the absence of such support, and given the huge cost of political activities, wealthy party financiers may take over as political godfathers who determine electoral outcomes and all that follows it.
“Ghana today is broke. International credit rating agencies have placed us in junk status. Additional state financing can therefore not be a viable option on the table. Even if that becomes an option in the future, I recommend that we put in place an explicit Public Funding of Political Parties Bill in a bipartisan and inclusive manner,” he said.
The flagbearer hopeful of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) further recommended that should public funding of political parties be scaled up in the foreseeable future, then, an independent and credible institution must be selected to administer the state resources advanced to political parties.
“In that regard, a sharing formula could be established to ensure fairness and specific disclosure requirements on beneficiary parties. This must be complemented by auditing and publication of party accounts.
“Ladies and gentlemen, even though I do not recommend additional state financing at this time of national economic meltdown, I accept a lot more needs to be understood regarding how political parties are financed because these could have implications on our developmental outcomes. We must understand how politicians finance their campaigns for office, and to whom they are indebted and are expected to repay.
“It is therefore important we engage in sustained discussions and build consensus on funding political parties within the context of public policy to promote good governance and democratic practices in Ghana.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana