Prof Joseph Atsu Ayee
A stakeholders’ conference has been held at the University of Ghana under the auspices of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to find a way of minimizing if not completely eliminating the emerging trend of monetization of politics in the country which participants think it is a threat to Ghana’s fledgling democracy.
There were participants from the academia, political parties, civil society organizations and some public democratic institutions who deliberated and had panel discussions under the theme: “Money, Influence, Corruption and Capture. Can Ghana’s Democracy Be Safeguarded?”
Opening the conference, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, who doubles as the Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the time has come for political parties and politicians to critically look at the creeping monetization of politics in the country which is directly or indirectly hampering the efforts to fight against corruption in public office.
He said it is now rich people who are determining the type of politicians who occupy public offices in Ghana and politicians with money who are able to go to Parliament or win party positions.
According to him, when such people expend such huge sums of money to get political power, they had to find ways and means to get their money back and even make profit as well as stock their financial arsenal for the next elections if they want to retain their positions.
He said if the current trend is to be reversed then political parties and political actors would have to come out with a proactive legislation that would allow political parties to select their parliamentary and presidential candidates based on competence, integrity and merit and not in the hands of party delegates.
The main speaker at the conference, Prof Joseph Atsu Ayee of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, said it was time Ghana looked critically at the idea of the state sponsoring political parties to help reduce the temptation of influencing the election of party representatives with money.
He also stressed the need for legal regime to control the extent of spending on internal party elections as well as general elections.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr