Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, Chairman of the National Peace Council, has expressed worry the increasing level of monetisation of politics in the country.
According to him, if nothing is done to reduce if not eliminate the canker, it would continue to disenfranchised well-qualified persons from seeking political leadership.
Rev. Prof. Asante expressed these concerns at a day’s national stakeholders’ consultation on the monetization of politics organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in Accra on Monday, July 8, 2019.
The program was held under the theme: “Money, Influence, Corruption and Capture: Can Ghana’s Democracy be Safeguarded”.
The National Peace Council Chairman said, there are many people with fantastic ideas and with a clean heart to serve the country but because they do not have the ability give out money and failed to go through the initial process even in the internal parties.
While describing the monetization phenomenon as a worrying trend, Rev. prof. Asante believed it also breeds corruption and it’s related offences which in his view making politics expensive and an avenue for political vigilantes.
He, therefore, called for continuing national dialogue to find a lasting solution, stressing that the monetisation canker in politics is destroying persons with patriotic heats which takes away the nation beacon of stabilized democracy with peace and development.
Professor Atsu Ayee, a Senior Lecturer of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, who was Guest Speaker, called for enactment of laws to promote party accountability, probity and transparency to prevent monetisation in Ghana politics.
According to him, the would-be legislation should entail better oversight of integrity in the public sector, stronger political parties and attention to an illegal financial transaction in the country’s political election space.
He explained that it would empower the citizenry, encouraged accountability, probity, and ensuring proper implementation and sustainability of the integrity-enhanced system.
“Monetisation in politics or political finance serves as conduit for corruption, capture of political power which affects democratic governance even though money in politics is necessary for political parties to play their role, must be used judiciously to promote political governance, failure will lead to crimes or vices of influence, corruption and capture of power to advantage of few.
“Political finance laws, regulations are often undermined by lack of political will or capacity, poorly designed, enforced measures, civil society, media to monitor role of money in politics by connecting possible ways in which money can be disguised, tract on appointment of public officials for coherent and objective criticism to put them on their toes.
“I recommend study into manifestoes of political parties, monitor outputs, results when elected into power for probity, accountability, transparency, serve as a check on operations, not to be seen as office-seekers driven by material, self-interest and regarded by the citizenry as highly susceptible to corruption.
“Negative perceptions are 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 contributes only two per cent, weak promotion of internal democracy taken with ‘pinch of salt’ given monetisation of politics and capture of parties by moneybags,” Prof Ayee argued.
In his remarks, the Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the stakeholder’s consultation would help a national discourse on monetization in politics and in order to come out with policies to curb the growing concerns.
According to him, if the presence leadership failed to tackle the issues head-on, political leadership of the country would be left onto only those who have money in society to the detriment of competence persons who could help the nation, stressing that, leaving political position to only the rich would certainly harm the core values of democratic governance.
The Majority Leader also bemoaned the winner takes all system which in his view ignites political vigilantism as it makes it difficult for people to contribute to addressing some national concerns.
He hinted that the Inter-Parliamentary Union is on talks with Parliament to ensure that by 2025, women in its membership would constitute 30 per cent.
On his part, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, called for a concerted effort to discuss the issues dispassionately devoid of political affiliation.
He said apart from monetisation, the act of political vigilantism and the growing level of lack of confidence in elected leadership of the country is affecting the country peaceful democracy.
In his view, the only way to safeguard the country the country’s democracy is to find a lasting remedy to monetisation as it remained a threat to Ghana’s democracy.
Dr Evans Aggrey-Darkoh, Chief Director of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, said monetisation in politics is a grave concern to all democracy-enhancing institutions and individuals.
According to him, the forum would help provide appropriate recommendations to curb monetisation in politics.
“We recognise the immense contribution of political parties to the democracy of the country but also we recognise that monetisation in politics, which has encouraged elite control, corruption and violence, has dire consequences for the sustenance of the democracy,” Dr Aggrey-Darkoh stated.