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15 October 2016

MPs cry for public funding of parties as campaigns heat up

All partiesWith 53 days to the election, money has become a critical tool in prosecuting the electioneering campaign of all those who are seeking political office.

It is conventional ahead of elections to find political parties engaging in fundraising campaigns to support their electioneering campaigns.

For some sitting and aspiring Members of Parliament (MPs) inadequate resources from their parties is putting enormous pressure on them as they campaign to retain their seats.

Some have resorted to borrowing in order to stay in the race.

An aspiring female MP told Joy News that although the party is supporting in a way, when one considers that there are over 200 constituencies to deal with, it would be asking too much to expect the party to do everything.

She said some logistics like fliers and other things come from the party but the actual financing and other resources come from the individual candidates themselves.

“If your personal funds run out, then you have to go and borrow, thankfully I have not borrowed yet but it gets really tough,” she said suggesting that “we have to look at it as political parties and as a country”.

“In other jurisdictions, political parties are funded from the public purse and so it makes matters a bit easy and that is when you can hold people responsible,” she added.

There have been debates and complaints by the general public about politicians coming into power to recover the investments they have made when trying to get into power.

According to the aspiring MP, the situation where MPs have to dig deep into their pockets to finance everything to come to power contributes to corruption.
“If we want a corruption-free system in our country then we have to look at public funding of political parties again,” she said.

In April this year, Majority leader, Alban Sumani K. Bagbin, emphasised the need to resource political parties financially in the areas of research, administration and operations in a bid to curb systemic corruption in the country.

“The die is cast through the whole world that political parties are not private organisations, because the objective of political parties is to transform themselves into governments that serve the people, produce public goods and services.

“Nurturing political parties has been taken as a very serious business in many countries, particularly in the developing countries. And so the political parties are rather supported with some funding by the state, in the form of funds for research, administration or for operations of the party,” he observed.

“Unfortunately, in Ghana we are operating political parties as private enterprises and they are to look for their own sources of financing to pay the cost of administration, operations of campaign elections. This has opened the gate for alternative sources of financing, and that is private funding of political parties,” he added.

The Member of Parliament for Nadowli/Kaleo indicated that “There is no strong democracy anywhere in the world without a strong political party”.

A sitting MP whilst admitting that money plays a very significant role when it comes to campaigning, said he believes that when one gets the chance to serve and does a good job, the people will understand the need to re-elect the person without demanding much.

“When they look at what you have been able to do with the little MP Common Fund; when you have not been very unselfish and you have been with them and identified with them, I can tell you I will win the election not on a monetary basis,” he noted.

He said the spirit of goodwill and service to the people will easily win one a seat.

Source: Myjoyonline.com

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