In order to stop financiers from dictating the results of elections, former President John Dramani Mahama proposes that the state should fund the election campaigns of political parties that have a chance of winning.
Mr. Mahama is of the opinion that in order to lessen the strain placed on the various political parties during elections, the state ought to shoulder a portion of the costs that are incurred by political parties.
“On government support for political funding, some have argued that the only funding that may be advanced to parties and cannot be concealed in secrecy is public funding,” Mr. Mahama, a flagbearer hopeful of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), stated during a public lecture that took place on March 22 at the UPSA auditorium in Accra.
This refers to the act of the government providing financial resources or other forms of assistance, either directly or indirectly, to political parties.
Given the enormous cost of political activities and the absence of such support, wealthy party financiers may take over as political godfathers, determining the outcomes of elections and everything that comes after them.
According to him, viable political parties play a significant role in the promotion of democracy in the country; as a result, it will be necessary for the state to bear some of the expenses incurred by those parties in the future.
In every nation, the existence of viable political parties plays a significant role in the advancement of democracy and sustainable development. They play important roles in the formation of the government, the development of leaders at various levels, and the role of a watchdog for the governments that are currently in power.
Given that these are also institutions of state politics, we cannot continue to ignore the healthy development of our political parties for the reasons stated above, as he went on to suggest.
Mr. Mahama acknowledged that the state is currently bankrupt, and as a result, financing political campaigns leading up to the 2024 general elections is not going to be an option.
Mahama suggested that in the future, public funding of political parties should be increased, and that this process should be overseen by an institution that is both credible and independent to ensure that the distribution formula is fair.
Mr. Mahama made the observation that “Ghana is broke today. We currently have “junk” status with all of the major international credit rating agencies. Therefore, the possibility of additional funding from the state cannot be considered a viable option.
Even if that becomes a possibility in the not-too-distant future, I still think it’s important that we pass a bill mandating the explicit public funding of political parties in a way that’s inclusive and bipartisan.
“Furthermore, I suggest that in the event that there is going to be an increase in the amount of money that is given by the public to political parties in the not too distant future, then an organization that is credible and independent ought to be chosen to manage the resources that are given by the state to political parties.
In this regard, a formula for sharing could be devised in order to ensure that all beneficiary parties are treated fairly and that specific disclosure requirements are met. This needs to be supplemented by independent audits and public disclosure of party finances.
Mr. Mahama advocated for the development of a consensus on the funding of political parties.
“Even though I do not recommend additional state financing at this time of national economic meltdown, I accept that a lot more needs to be understood regarding how political parties are financed because this could have implications on the outcomes of our developmental work.
The reason for this is that I do not recommend additional state financing in this time of national economic meltdown.
“It is imperative that we have an understanding of how politicians finance their campaigns for office, as well as the parties to which they are indebted and to whom they are expected to repay those debts.”
According to the proposition made by Mr. Mahama, “it is therefore important that we engage in sustained discussions and build consensus on funding political parties within the context of public policy in order to promote good governance and democratic practices in Ghana.”