We need legislation to prevent monetization in politics – Prof Ayee

Professor Atsu Ayee

Professor Atsu Ayee[/caption]

Senior Lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Professor Joseph Atsu Ayee, has called on government to design a comprehensive legislation to promote party accountability and prevent money laundering in political elections.

This, according to the Professor, entailed a better oversight of integrity in the public sector, stronger political parties and attention to illegal financial transaction in the country’s political election space.

“Even though laws and regulations were important, they require a conducive social fabric that empowers citizens and encourage accountability, and ensure proper implementation and sustainability of integrity-enhanced system”, he added.

Prof Ayee made the call on Monday at a National Stakeholders’ consultation on monetization of politics in Ghana organized by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in Accra.

Speaking on the topic “Money, Influence, Corruption and Capture: Can Ghana’s Democracy Be Safeguard”, the Professor called for a concerted and enduring efforts to effectively and efficiently control the monetization in politics.

He said monetization in politics or political finance serves as a conduit for corruption, and capture of political power which affect democratic governance of every country.

“Even though money in politics is necessary for political parties to play their role, such money must be used judiciously to promote political governance, failure will lead to crimes or vices of influence, corruption and capture of power to the advantage of the few”.

He posited that political finance laws and regulations were often undermined by lack of political will or capacity as well as poorly designed and enforced measures.

Touching on measures to safeguard the country’s democracy, Prof Ayee called on civil society and the media to monitor the role of money in politics by connecting all the possible ways in which money can be disguised and tract on appointment of public officials for coherent and objective criticism to put them on their toes.

He recommended a study into the manifestoes of political parties and monitor their outputs and results when elected into power for accountability and transparency and as well serve as a check on the operations.

Focusing on the state of the country’s political dispensation, Prof Ayee said political parties were seen as office seekers who were driven by material self-interest and regarded by the public as highly susceptible to corruption.

He explained that these negative perceptions were as a result of weak financial position of political parties’ membership where financiers contribute between 35 per cent to 55 per cent of party funding while party funding contribute only 2 per cent.

“Weak promotion of internal democracy also contributed to the negative perception which has been taken with ‘pinch of salt’ given the monetization of politics and the capture of the parties by moneybags”, he added.

He said though aspirants and candidates for political positions fund their campaigns, there was the need for the leadership of political parties to institute internal and external regulations to sanitize the incidence of monetization in politics.

“There is decreased public trust in politics, politicians and political parties. Political parties must become developmentally minded or oriented to move away from being electoral machines”, he said.