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12 June 2016

Let’s revisit discussion on funding political parties — Ashigbey

Mr Kenneth Ashigbey (2nd right), briefing Mr Koji Makino (left) on current issues in Japan. Also with them is Mr Samuel Aduamoah-Addo (right), Assistant Clerk, Parliament of Ghana. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO

Mr Kenneth Ashigbey (2nd right), briefing Mr Koji Makino (left) on current issues in Japan. Also with them is Mr Samuel Aduamoah-Addo (right), Assistant Clerk, Parliament of Ghana. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO

The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, has urged stakeholders to revisit the discussion on funding political parties in the country.

“Issues like this need dispassionate debate. Stakeholders need a critical and objective analysis of the issue to see if the merits outweigh the demerits and if it would ultimately reflect in the development of our democracy,” he stated.

 

Recounting his experience from Japan, he said electoral laws in Japan mandated the state to fund political parties’ activities, including campaigns.

The situation, according to him, had brought a level playing field among the parties.

Also, he said it had succeeded in minimising the influence of money in Japanese political activities, including vote buying, making the parties accountable to the state.

Debate on funding parties

The issue of fund

ing of political parties in Ghana is not new. Unfortunately, stakeholders seem not to be enforcing the discussion.

Moreover, governments of the day seem to reject the concept as a heresy and the debate dies a natural death.

Do we consider funding political parties as luxury to our democracy and conclude that such luxuries are not imminent needs to the establishment and progress of our democracy?

Courtesy call

During a courtesy call on the Chief Representative (CR) of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Mr Koji Makino, in Accra last Thursday, Mr Ashigbey said in Japan, before a party was qualified to be funded by the state, that party had to pay a deposit to the state.

In addition, he said, the party must also have the capacity to garner a number of valid votes in an election to attract the funds.

“They want to make sure that only credible parties participate in their electoral process. They have laws to back the system,” Mr Ashigbey explained.

He also spoke about restructuring of the voting system, consolidating decentralisation and parliamentary system.

Also present at the meeting was the Assistant Clerk of Parliament, Mr Samuel Aduamoah-Adu.

The visit was to allow Mr Ashigbey and Mr Aduamoah-Adu to brief him (Mr Makino) on a three-week seminar they attended in Japan last month.

The seminar was organised by JICA and had participants from Ghana, Egypt, Fiji, Guinea, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Cote d’Ivoire and Kyrgyz Republic.

It was on: “Legislative and Electoral Administration,” and intended to offer opportunity for learning the way to establish democracy, especially focusing on the stage of election and after election.

Media engagement

For his part, Mr Aduamoah-Adu commended JICA for the seminar.

He lauded Japan for engaging the media to promote good governance.

According to him, in the Hiroshima Assembly (HA) all sittings were held in public, streaming live on the Internet.

“I have, therefore, agreed with Mr Ashigbey on a road map to expose the media to committee sittings in the Ghanaian Parliament.”

“I am seeking for the media to meet the Clerks after the day’s session to discuss what has transpired at their meeting for publication,” Mr Aduamoah-Adu said.

Mr Makino was pleased with his guests and said the success of Japanese democracy was based on non-political interference in their institutions.

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