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IDEG calls for multi-party democracy fund

By
Kodjo Adams, GNA

Accra, Aug. 23, GNA –
The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) has proposed the establishment
of a multi-party democracy fund to support political parties to develop their
manifestoes, policies and annual conferences.

The fund, which would assist
the parties to translate their manifestoes into four-year medium term policy
programmes and policy oriented annual conferences, should be instituted and
made mandatory for political parties.

Dr Emmanuel Akwetey,
the Executive Director of IDEG, made the proposal in Accra at a Civil Society
Organisations (CSOs) consultation on local governance reform and constitutional
amendment.

He explained that such
a fund would strengthen the policy and research departments of political
parties in formulating pragmatic development policies and transform the parties
from mere electoral machineries to development oriented organisations.

“The financial support
to the parties will help reduce the reliance on party financiers which in turn
would reduce the monetization of politics in the country, curb cronyism and
corruption when parties come into government,” he added.

Dr Akwetey said
political parties lacked research and policy departments and public policy
education, stressing that the political parties’ formulation of manifestoes and
their translation into actionable programmes are ad hoc and tenuous.

He therefore called
for adjustments of the country’s power structure through constitutional reform
to dismantle the monopoly of executive and political power, which concentrated
in the hands of one political party and redistribute it among many political
parties.

“This is critical
because the party that wins elections in the current political system
monopolizes power and resources to the exclusion of all other political parties,”
he said.

He said the system
empowers the President to appoint Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief
Executives and 30 per cent of all Assembly members further centralizing
political and economic power in the executive.

The Executive Director
advocated democratic devolution of Executive power, a transformative change
that would radically change the local governance system and open up local
government to partisan political elections.

He explained that the
transformation would direct elections of District Chief Executives and open up
district assemblies for competitive partisan political elections.

“The transformation
would strengthen transparency and accountability in governance due to the
increased interest of the citizenry in the local level elections and ensure
competitive implementation of developmental projects”.

Dr Akwetey said there
was the feeling that one needed favour or belong to a particular political
party in order to get promotion or employment in the civil service, which has
led to a high level of political patronage amongst civil servant.

He said a professional
civil service was a necessary condition for achieving good governance and
socio-economic development and called for the need to restore high standards of
professionalism and strengthen the autonomy of state bureaucracies.

Dr Akwetey was of the
view that the transformation would improve public services delivery and
standard of living, promote transparency and accountability and reduce
corruption as well as reduce extreme partisanship and promote national cohesion
and inclusive development.

Some of the CSOs
lauded the proposals, saying it would strengthen the country’s democratic
values, especially the election and resourcing of MMDCEs, to ensure development
at the local level.

To them, the
transformation would help address agitation and confusion over the acceptance
of some MMDCE nominees appointed by the President across the country.

They called for the
political will to give the franchise to the people at the local level to elect
their Chief Executives.

However, some
participants who argued for partisan decentralized local governance system said
the introduction of political parties at the local levels would ensure that
parties that lose national elections could still maintain central of some
districts and stay relevant to the business of governance.

GNA

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